We’re Number Three!

I was hoping I might make the Calgary bestseller list after the launch, and here it is:

http://www.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/booksandthearts/story.html?id=27e25dd0-fd9c-4970-a0c5-54157404277b

Wow, right between David Suzuki and Joseph Boyden! Excellent!

That does feel good.

The tour

So I got back from Edmonton yesterday afternoon. I was happy with the way things went. The crowd was small, but high quality. One was a sweet young punk girl who wants to be a writer, I really enjoyed talking to her. Audrey’s invited me back next year to read from the next book. Went for beers after with Joe and Suzanne, some CAA buddies, had fun.

Saskatoon was another story — nobody came. I felt like a fool, but I learned something — don’t take a first book to a city where you know no one. Talking to other writers, it seems most people have had an experience like that. And I’m taking it all in perspective now. Somehow I had this idea that throngs of people would show up at these out of town things. I don’t know why I thought that. I mean, I wrote a BOOK, can you believe it? But the more people I talk to, the more it sounds like this is very typical with out-of-town events. Bob Stallworthy told me he had an identical experience in Saskatoon a few years ago. Joe reminded me that I was the only person to come to his Calgary reading at McNally’s a few years ago. Someone else said only a handful came out to the reading a certain Giller-nominated author did at Audrey’s a few weeks ago. Another friend has been to read in Camrose three times — the same eight friends come every time and they go for drinks. Rona tells me only seven showed up for her and Russell Wangersky a couple of years ago. Even the mighty MJ had twelve turn out for his reading last month. So I guess it’s more about getting your book in stores, getting to know the store people, and hanging out with friends.

That’s good enough for me. Now I can get back to my normal life, which is nice.

Rolling!

Wow — was last night one of the best nights of my life? I would have to say so. Top five, anyway. Incredible! The launch was a success on all fronts, I think. The turnout was 70, many more than I dared to hope for, and we sold 45 books. Yeah! Great support from everyone who showed up: the old friends / punk rock contingent, neighbours, former library colleagues, writing buds and of course a few relatives. Among the many I hadn’t seen in ages was Dusty Kelly, a punk rock mate I hadn’t seen since high school and who’s lived in Vancouver for many years, changed her business flight to Calgary so she could come. Then a larger group retired to the dear ol’ Hop Inn Brew Pub to celebrate. It was a blast. And yes, I have been a bit tired today. But what a night!

Tomorrow I’m putting in an appearance from 11:30 – 12:00 at Owl’s Nest’s Independents Day celebration, signing only. Then it’s off to Saskatoon Monday and Edmonton Thursday. Meanwhile, Pages on Kensington tells me they’ve put an order in with Oberon and have had several inquiries so far. Cool.

Also, I have been Chapters / Indigoized: http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/books/LOVE-MINUS-ZERO-LORI-HAHNEL/9780778013310-item.html?ref=Search+Books%3a+%2527hahnel%2c+lori%2527

On the other hand, banal reality also beckons. Like I should get offa this thing and make some supper.

Launchmas Eve

The day before the big night. Wrapping stuff up. Finished the last rehearsal — I think it sounded pretty good. Clocked in at just a shade under fourteen minutes, including my little intro, so I think that should be fine. As long as I can keep it that slow, as long as I don’t end up sounding like The Chipmunks, which is possible. We have almost all the stuff — my copy of the book, the liquor permit, the wine, the glasses, the napkins. I need to get my pens ready — the right pens, the numinous pens (don’t ask). And we need to pick up the cheese platter on the way to the library.

I’m looking forward to the event, but what I’m especially looking forward to is having the reading part of it over. I still cannot help but marvel at the irony of me getting into another form of artistic expression that involves performing in front of an audience. Oh, well, have to do it.
Then there’s the Owl’s Nest Author’s Day event on Saturday, the Saskatoon reading Monday and the Edmonton reading next Thursday. Then I’ll be done with that kind of thing for a while. I hope.

Getting plenty of good wishes pouring in, and they do help, folks. Thanks so much. Apparently someone has sent me flowers; got a call that a delivery is on its way. Wonder who? Auntie Marnie would be my guess.

Awesome.

Floral update: Just called my Mom to thank her for the orchids! Wow! I knew if I lived long enough, someone would send me orchids.

Got a Whole Lotta Books

Wow, a whole box of books just arrived here! Cool! That’s a very weird feeling, I’ll tell you. Good weird, but still weird. I’ll send one to Diane, one to my sister, maybe one to Roger. Gotta give my mom one. The rest? Maybe lots of people will be getting them for Xmas, you never know.

Less than one week to lift-off here now. I feel pretty good in general, I have to say. I do feel nervous from time to time, but not bad. Of course it is still a few days off.

Speaking of a few days off, I need to go pick up the gentlemen after school, as they embark on yet another four-day weekend. This is good, though, gives me something to focus on besides launching. The book that is.

Cool.

We Meet at Last; Bonding With the Book

Had a great time at Mark Jarman’s reading on Friday. He’s a wonderful reader; very relaxed and natural, added plenty of interesting asides about the piece he read, “A Nation Plays Chopsticks”, from his new collection My White Planet. So far I’ve only read the first story, “Night March in the Territory”, which I also read when it was published in The Malahat Review. I can only say that it’s a strong, affecting story, one I felt I couldn’t tear myself away from. It was also great to go for a beer afterwards and get a bit of chance to talk to the man in person. He’s a nice guy, very interesting. He seems to me to be someone who leads a rich life, reflected in his work. Makes a girl think, or ought to, anyway.

So after toting the book around with me all weekend to show to my writer buds, I’m bonding with the little sucker. Have to say my emotions when I first opened the package Friday were mixed — I was excited, yeah, but kind of afraid of it, too. This is IT. This is the final form. But I’m feeling better now. I’ve even got past my aversion to reading it yet AGAIN and am now going through it. Why, I’m not really sure. Maybe to prove to myself that it’s not a dream.
Pretty sure now that it isn’t.