Nothing screams author like writing in a coffee shop except reading your work at a coffee shop.
Last Saturday, RxBrew coffeehouse owners Garrett and Shayli Hill, hosted me and my books for a release party and reading!
Garrett and Shayli are awesome entrepreneurs, but one thing I love about them is their welcoming spirit as a couple. When we first moved to Weatherford, they took us out to supper and became our first friends post-college that were close to our own age.
I really can't thank them enough for their friendship and support of my writing career.
This was a first for me, so I arrived not knowing what to expect. Mom and Tucker came all the way from Sharon Springs to support me, so I knew no matter the turnout I had people I love supporting me.
Before my reading started, authors Johnny and April Walker took the "stage" and read from their children's book. It was a sweet poem written for their son about Jesus and his love for children. (By the way, they're looking for donations so they can send copies of their book to missionaries on other countries, so if you want to spread the love, literally, with a tax-deductible donation, you can do so here.)
After they read from their story and answered questions, my turn came.
Reading from my work is like having someone read a birthday card you gave them in front of the whole family. Super nerve-wracking and vulnerable. (Maybe that's just me.)
So, I took a deep breath, Ty held the book for me, and I began to read. I got caught up in my characters' stories once again. Kind of like reuniting with old friends.
After reading a couple of chapters, we had a question and answer session. Answering questions is always my favorite part of meeting with groups so I can get to know them and their interests better.
This time, we talked about my inspiration behind the characters, challenges I have as a novelist, the writing process, Raising the West, and how writing that story launched my writing career. I had my family prepped with questions in case no one asked any, but it turns out they didn't need too.
But, they totally evangelized for my work. I felt so loved when Ty talked about the effort that went into making sure Raising the West was true to the women's stories and when Mom shared writing advice I'd given her. Tucker even continued asking me questions after we left the shop, and they all cheered me on, before, during, and after.
I was also happy to see my friend Danny. Danny's a local photographer who I used to photograph football games with during my short stint at the newspaper. (That's a story for another day.) He's been taking pictures longer than I've been alive and he's been such a great friend and mentor to me! So, all of these pictures you're seeing in this post are his good work.
So, this reading was a fun first for me. One of my 2017 goals was to help organize a reading, and I'm glad we squeezed it in before the year ended. I'm looking forward to see what the future will bring to my writing and what new goals I can reach next year.