I am pleased to announce the publication of Spell of the Samba, the first romantic suspense title from Aurora St. Charles, which was released in September 2020. Aurora St. Charles is the pen name for myself and my coauthor Charlotte, and Spell of the Samba is the first book in a series entitled “Between the Lines”. The book is now available as a paperback or ebook on Amazon and other digital outlets. The holidays are coming and Spell of the Samba would make a great gift for the romance novel enthusiasts on your gift list. All profits from the book will be donated to The Actors Fund, an organization that offers human services to people in the entertainment industry.
On October 26, 2019 I participated in the First Annual Easton Book Festival in Easton, PA. I joined 40 other regional authors at the Book Fair where we sold signed copies of our latest books. I featured my memoir, BEV: The Invisible Sister. Unfortunately, the scheduled book readings didn’t go well for most of the authors because of a lack of publicity and signage - a lesson learned for the organizers. I had a wonderful time anyway, as I usually do at these author events. I met wonderful people, sold a few books, and enjoyed the camaraderie of my fellow writers. At the next Festival I hope to feature my first Aurora St. Charles title, Spell of the Samba, which is due out at the beginning of next year.
Here I am reporting on another Write Stuff Conference, which takes place every spring in Bethlehem. This year it was held March 21 - 23, 2019. I’ve been going to these annual conferences for six or seven years. I always attend only on the Saturday when they schedule a selection of short seminars that attendees can choose from. There is also always a key note speaker who conducts day long seminars during the week and gives a talk at the luncheon. There are other activities, too, including a book fair on the last day where I usually manage to sell a book or two. I always enjoy going to the conference and I always learn something new.
This year I participated in Page Cuts, a forum for writers to submit the first page of a longer work to a panel of agents. The submissions are anonymous so that the author can hear the commentary along with the rest of the audience without feeling vulnerable. I submitted the first (and only LOL) page of a middle grade fantasy I’ve been thinking about writing. I’ve had a great first paragraph for over a year, expanded it to a couple of pages, but haven’t gone any further with it. The agents who read it were very intrigued and one said she would like to see more. Too bad there isn’t any more, not yet anyway. Their positive reaction inspired me to go ahead with the project. It’s going to be a long haul getting it done, but now I have a lot more confidence that it has merit, which will spur me on. And so it goes that every year I get something to take away from The Write Stuff that helps me on my writer’s journey.
On March 24, 2018 I attended the Greater Lehigh Valley Writer’s Group annual conference called The Write Stuff. The conference goes on for three days, but I usually attend only on Saturday. This year I actually had a shorter day since I had to leave in the afternoon to attend a performance of the Tamburitzens with friends and family. The conference has workshops all day and a keynote speaker at the luncheon. This year’s speaker and featured presenter at the conference was Bob Mayer, a writer and entrepreneur. I always enjoy the conference, and after attending several of them, I have some observations to make. I’ll do that in a separate entry here in the blog.
In the fall of 2017 I participated in two local author events. On October 14 I took part in a local author promotion at the South Mall in Allentown, PA. Though there wasn’t a lot interest shown in our books by the shoppers at the mall, I enjoyed meeting with my fellow authors and sharing the stories of our adventures in writing and marketing. A more successful event was the Local Author Day at Barnes and Noble in the Southmont shopping center in Easton, PA on November 18. We had four tables of local authors and lots of interest from the shoppers at the store. There were quite a few sales and lots of camaraderie. My next big event will be the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group’s Write Stuff Conference in Bethlehem, PA on March 24, 2018. This is an annual event that I always look forward to. I’m still promoting BEV: The Invisible Sister and now am getting ready to find a publisher for my Aurora St. Charles romance, Spell of the Samba. .
On March 25, 2017 I attended The Write Stuff writers’ conference in Bethlehem, PA. It was hosted by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group, which is the local writing group I belong to. It was a great event that featured Michael Hague, author of Writing Screenplays That Sell and Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds: The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read, as the keynote speaker and workshop presenter. I had an opportunity to talk to an agent about my book and received some good advice about how to proceed with marketing BEV. At the end of the day there was a book fair at which I was able to sell a few copies of my book and network with some of my fellow local authors. A great event!
I have been invited to take part in the River Reads Book Festival in Stockton, NJ on Sunday, October 23, 2016. This event features over 40 authors from the surrounding area who will be showcasing their latest books, signing copies, and presenting readings from their work. There will also be a "blind date with a book" sale to benefit the Friends of the Hunterdon County Library, wine tastings from Unionville Vineyards, crepes from Bonjour Creperie, and giveaways to local bookstores and Triumph Brewing Company of New Hope with the purchase of a book! It's all happening Sunday, October 23 from 10:00 to 4:00 at Prallsville Mills, Stockton, NJ. Check out the link below for more information. Hope to see you there!
A book signing has been scheduled at the Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem, PA for Sunday, October 9, 2016 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM. As a featured local author, I am planning to sign copies of both BEV: The Invisible Sister and Les Amis. For those of you not acquainted with it, the Moravian Book Shop, the oldest continually operated bookstore in the country, is located across from the Hotel Bethlehem and right next to the Central Moravian Church on historic Main Street. It is a fantastic little bookstore and gift gallery - a great venue for local authors to meet and greet readers and introduce them to their work. Check out the bookstore at the link below and look for publicity on my appearance as the time grows closer.
On Saturday, May 21, I was invited to meet with the board of the Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance in Mohnton, PA. Five members of the board were there in person, with others attending via conference call. All of the members have backgrounds in working for and with intellectually disabled individuals. Greg Pirmann, in particular, knew Bev at Pennhurst and helped her prepare for her life outside the institution. I shared stories about Bev and my experiences with Pennhurst, while they told me about their projects, most importantly the museum that will be housed in the superintendent’s house on the Pennhurst grounds. We talked about my reasons for writing the book and my hopes for what readers will take away from Bev’s story. Several members purchased the book to read, and I’m looking forward to hearing their reactions to it.
The mission of the PM&PA is dear to my heart. If you would like to learn more about their vision, click below to visit their website.
I invite you to listen to my interview with Bob Cohen on WDIY 88.1 May 30 at 6:00 as we talk about my book Bev: The Invisible Sister on the Lehigh Valley Arts Salon. Find out why Bev was invisible both to her family and to society while she resided at Pennhurst State Hospital, hear what life was like for residents of institutions like Pennhurst, and learn what happened to former residents when they finally rejoined society. Bob and I also talk about my family, our challenges and struggles, and what is was like having an intellectually disabled sibling. If you can’t catch the interview when it airs, click on the link below to listen to the podcast after May 30.