The last time I was at an in-person book signing of my own was November 2019 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. At the time, I only had one book published, Fermata Cellars.
When I published Zinfandel’s Grimoire in September 2020, the COVID-19 lockdowns were still in place. I tried to do a virtual launch over Facebook, but that didn’t work out so well. I spent two hours doing the live chat plus many hours before the event coordinating guests, promoting the event, and preparing the agenda. But I didn’t sell a single book that night. Argh!
Here it is a year and a half later and now I’m almost sold out of the books that I have on hand. I can order more, but they won’t get here by Saturday, April 30, which is Indie Bookstore Day. My friends at Cicada Books and Coffee, 604 14th Street West in Huntington, West Virginia, have invited me to participate in their Independent Bookstore Day event. Oh, heck yeah, I’m going to be there! But I only have two copies of each book for sale on their shelves already. I have two more copies of each book at Conquest Books across the state line in Ashland, Kentucky, but that’s it.
So, here’s what I’m going to do.
I will have signup sheets for anyone who wants one of my books. Leave your name and email and I will order the appropriate number of books when I get home from the event. You can pay for them when they come in.
Even if you don’t order my book, please come out and have a good time. A handshake and how-do will be just fine.
The whole shindig lasts from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Cicada is going to have children’s story time at 11 a.m., and other special, fun things throughout the day. They’ll have 10% off logo merch and new Appalachian books, plus they’ll be serving funky foodstuffs inspired by this onion-type vegetable called a wild ramp, a.k.a. Allium tricoccum, that is native to Appalachia and harvested about this time of year.
The Farmer’s Almanac says, “Ramps are easy to distinguish from other wild onions by their broad, smooth, leaves, which are light green in color, sometimes with deep purple tints. The stalks appear similar to those of scallions, though they often widen at the root for a slightly more bulbous appearance. Both the stalks and leaves are edible.”
Cicada will be selling wild ramp-infused cream cheese for their bagels, and a refreshing cold beverage called a Stink Drink that’s made with vanilla ice cream and blackberry lemonade and served with a green straw.
This native onion is so popular that the local grocery store across the street from Cicada named itself The Wild Ramp. According to its website, the shop “is an indoor year-round, nonprofit farmers market based in Huntington, West Virginia with a mission to grow and support a vibrant economy and community for local food, food products, and artisan goods.”
This very same day, the Wild Ramp will be holding its annual Stinkfest. It’s Facebook Event page says, “This day-long festival will feature ramp dishes from The Wild Ramp Harvest Kitchen as well as other local food businesses. There will also be artisan vendors, music and kid’s activities. Admission is free.” It’s from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 30.
Independent Bookstore Day is the last Saturday in April every year, according to IndieBound, an initiative of the American Booksellers Association.
“Locally owned, independent businesses pump money back into their communities by way of taxes, payrolls, and purchases. That means more money for sound schools, green parks, strong fire departments, and smooth roads, all in your neighborhood,” the group’s website says. “IndieBound allows indie booksellers to communicate this vital role they play in their local economies and communities. It allows authors to show their dedication to indies nationwide, easily done by linking to thousands of indie bookstores through IndieBound.org. And it allows consumers to feel that their actions are a part of a larger picture — to know that their choices make a difference and that others are working toward the same goals.”
I am so happy to be part of this whole thing. I’ll be in the company of other fine, local authors like Stephen Bias, Carter Seaton, Matt Browning, and M. Lynn Squires. I’ve met Stephen before. I even did a little video about his book release party for Afterwards. You can watch it here:
So come on out. I’d love to chat for a bit, even if we have stinky onion breath from all the wild ramps.