Hubby and I were invited to spend the weekend with Lorna and Larry Collins to help them celebrate two events for the launch of their mystery, Murder...They Wrote. We met Lorna and Larry four years ago in San Antonio at an Epicon. (Conference for electronically published writers.)
We've since spent time together at subsequent Epicons and kept in touch through e-mail. They've invited us several time to come visit them at their home. It's a long, long drive to where they live through L.A. traffic and we had never accepted their kind invitation before. This time they asked me to be part of a Fine Arts Festival being put on by the church; to have a table with my books and give a talk about How to Write A Mystery.
We also found out that we shared the same birthday which was yesterday. So of course we packed up what we needed for a weekend and headed down to San Juan Capistrano. Mrs. Magellan, as my husband calls our GPS, guided us right to the Collins' front door.
Lorna met us with this greeting, "The books haven't arrived."
Oh, my, I've been in this predicament myself before and I knew exactly how she felt--and I told her so. After a consoling hug and learning about her frantic calls to her publisher and the post office, neither giving her any encouraging information, we brought our suitcases inside and sat down to talk about the situation.
She did have other books to sell at the festival and I suggested she make out some forms for people to use to buy the books and when the time came she could either mail or deliver them to the ones who lived close by. She quickly made an order form with a copy of the book cover in the corner.
Doing all that could be done for then, we all went to dinner, still hoping the books might show up the next day. They didn't.
Because Lorna was in charge of the festival, my husband helped Larry do all the set up. We both sold some books and I met a lot of interesting people, and had fun giving my talk. After it was over and everything was back in order, we took the Collins' to dinner this time as a celebration of our birthdays.
After church on Sunday, was the launch of the book. Of course the invitations had all been sent out so the party went on despite the lack of books to sell. The Collins back yard is gorgeous with a beautiful waterfall so tables with umbrellas and chairs were set up in the lovely beach weather. Lorna decorated each table with a Bird of Paradise and sea shells. (The book is set in Hawaii and has a Bird of Paradise on the Cover.)
Many guests arrived to be told there was no book as yet, but nearly everyone pre-paid for a book and filled out one of the order forms. (Taking care of all that was my job and I was glad to do it.)
Wonderful refreshments were served and the conversation was lively. I don't think anyone felt deprived because the books weren't there--except for Lorna and Larry, of course.
That evening, Lorna used the left-over meatballs and made pasta for our last meal together, and we talked about what a wonderful time we had together despite the lack of the new books.
We certainly got to know this lovely couple much better and enjoyed their hospitality, and I feel that we helped make the weekend go a bit smoother.
When "Murder...They Wrote" finally arrives, I'm sure they'll have many more venues to introduce it to mystery lovers.