Monday, June 30, 2008


It never fails. Whenever I find myself on the verge of crossing my arms, frowning, shaking my head and muttering, "To hell with it all" some tiny spark appears along my path and shines a bit of much needed light my way.

Sometimes these sparks appear in the form of fan letters from folks I've never met before. One kind reader wrote, "Hi Lori, I just finished reading your book After The Dance and wanted to let you know how much I truly loved it. I don't know if Carl was really a beggin brother or if he was just a man who had no problem showing his feelings. I need me a brother like that . . . Thanks again, I think I'm gonna read this for a 3rd time." Oh yeah, you best believe I grinned behind that for days (LOL).

Other times the spark will appear in the form of comments from friends. Recently, a dear old friend shared with me how much his father enjoyed After The Dance. For the record, my friend's father is 76 years old and he's experienced a number of health issues of late. But according to my friend, not only was my novel the first book his father had picked up in years, but it appears to have aroused within him a desire to read other things. Wow! I'm telling ya, for a debut author, it doesn't get much better than that (smile).

In the early part of last week, a trip to the mail box revealed that one of my sisters-in-law had sent me a couple of my books and a request to sign them and send them back to her. Similarly, just this past Friday, one of my father's retired miltary buddies shot me an email in which he informed me he was having three more copies (over and beyond the three he'd already purchased) of After The Dance sent to my PO Box and he wanted me to sign them and send them back to him.

And truly, for me, one of the coolest things about this whole experience has been being able to visit various library websites and get a glimpse of just how many folks are interested in my book. At one point last week, 27 of the 28 copies of After The Dance owned by the Memphis Public Library had been checked out. Even better, upon browsing my title at the public library here in Charlotte, I discovered that not only were all 15 copies of my book in circulation, but there were 7 requests currently on file which meant that 7 additional individuals were eagerily awaiting a copy.

I said all of that, not to brag, but to remind myself and any other newbie author out there that this is a journey, one that will be full of ups and downs and more than a few confusing round and arounds. Rather than get bogged down, side-tracked or deterred by any of the numerous insults and disappointments (oh yes, there have been plenty, I'm just not gonna give voice to any of them here . . . well, at least, not yet anyway *smile*) my/our primary task is to learn what we can from it all while staying humble, remembering always to give thanks and keep moving forward, one small step at a time.


Anonymous said...

Your book left our shelf at Sugar Creek Library & hasn't been back yet. That's a good thing. Whenever a book sets on our shelf in the American American section, it's either old (everyone's already read it),not interesting, or there's more in circulation (sometimes we have two or three of the same book). So, give yourself a pat on the back.

Sheila Wilcox

pjazzypar said...

I knew when I read the excerpt those many months ago, you had a hit on your hand. It is so cool that your vision was able to come to fruition. Since we have been blogging back and forth you have always struck me as a humble woman, who does not take much for granted. You should congratulate yourself on a job well done and bask in the glory for a while, you deserve it!

Radiogirl said...

Awesome. Thanks for sharing those examples. Good stuff. I am sure that Cleveland will give you a good feeling too when you visit in a few weeks.

Sharon J said...

"After the Dance" makes a great book discussion topic. Your friends at East View Church look forward to seeing you this month. It's great to hear that your novel is being received well!

Lori said...

@ Shelia,
That's interesting about Sugar Creek. One of my library friends in Memphis said a couple copies of my book were stolen before they ever made it to the shelves (LOL).

@ Pjazzy,
As always, you're too kind (smile).

@ RadioGirl & Sharon,
The Cleveland Crew is in the house, y'all! Hey, I'm gonna have to find a way to put you all on the payroll (smile). I'm looking forward to seeing all of my old Cleveland friends and hopefully making a few new ones too.

To All of the Above,
I truly appreciate all of the kind words of enouragement and support.
Every little bit goes a long way.

Anonymous said...

If you go to our library website in Charlotte, none of your books are available & 5 are on hold. They're either checked out, being held, or in transit. Whenever the book is lost, it means someone has checked it out & never returned it. It other words, it's stolen. Thieves never steal books that are not popular. With so many holds, I'd say word of mouth has made your book popular. And, if the book isn't good, no one's going to spread the word. This is off the subject, but a good all Black cast movie that's circulating now is Cover. Even though the main theme isn't new, I was astonished.

Sheila Wilcox

Malcolm said...

The saying goes that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. This post just proved that this isn't the case. It's one thing for a book/author to encourage a kid to read. I think that your story regarding your friend's 76 yr old father is just as gratifying, if not more.

Lori said...

Thanks for the comment. I'm so glad my friend shared the impact my book had on his 76 year old father. Among other things, it proved that my readership isn't limited to one race, age or gender group. My friend's father is a 76 year old White male from the South.
You know, that's not only heart-warming, it's eye-opening too(smile).