Monday, November 03, 2008

On Tour: Gayle Trent, Author of Murder Takes the Cake

I am very excited to join WOW! Women On Writing this month for author Gayle Trent's virtual book tour. Gayle is the author of a new cozy mystery series featuring Daphne Martin, who runs a cake decorating business. The first book in the series is Murder Takes the Cake, which I will be reviewing later this week.

Please welcome Gayle to Musings of a Bookish Kitty!

Book Signings from an Author's Point of View

Book signings are complex things. They can be wonderful or they can be . . . well, very bad. Let me give you an example of the "very bad."

My husband and I drove three hours to this signing. It was at a large chain store in a well-populated area, so you would think it would be a fairly successful event. When we arrived at the store, the manager appeared happy to see me.

"I've got you set up back here," she said.

She led me through the store to the video section where there was a table and some chairs.

She smiled and looked at me expectantly.

I smiled, wondering why in the world I'd been placed in the videos. "Great," I said. "Thanks."

One of the best parts of book signings is meeting and talking with new people. I met three new people that day, including the manager of the store. I pretty much only conversed with one new person, a boy who told me his favorite movie was "Lean on Me." The other new person was a young man who wandered by and spoke. The manager didn't really talk with me, other than to ask if I'd like a magazine to read. Otherwise, she sat and simply looked at me as if she expected me to do something literary. I think she was disappointed because I didn't really do anything literary, not even sign a book.

Now let me tell you about a good signing experience.

A couple weekends ago, I had a delightful event at the Kingsport, Tennessee Women's Expo. There I got to reconnect with writer friends I hadn't seen in awhile, and I met lots of new people. Over the course of the weekend, I sold seventeen copies of "Murder Takes the Cake," which was an accomplishment given that there were some terrific authors there and people had to make some difficult choices.

I even saw a girl I went to high school with. I was talking with her and her friend when suddenly I recognized her.

"Renee!" I shouted.

She laughed and we hugged.

I asked about her brother who I had such a crush on when I was in eighth grade and he was a senior. I learned he now has four teenagers.

I showed Renee pictures of my beautiful children and we talked about why we hadn't attended the high school reunions. I admitted I didn't want anybody to see how much weight I'd gained. Did I mention I can get a little too loquacious at these events?

I met a woman who was a breast cancer survivor and who was worried about the economy.

I met a charming little boy who was a delight. He kept coming back and getting candy until my bowl was empty.

"You need to fill that back up," he said.

"Can't. I'm out of candy."

At his worried frown, I went on to tell him about a booth I'd visited earlier where they were giving away little candy bars.

You could see the light brighten his eyes as he grabbed my bowl.

"What're you doing?" I asked.

"I'm gonna go where they have that candy and fill this up."

I laughed. "No, don't do that. I'll get in trouble. Just go get one for you."

He nodded. "I'll see what I can do."

He didn't bring back handfuls of candy, thank goodness. But when I was thirsty, he did get me a small cup of chocolate milk from the Mayfield vendor.

So, please, when you see authors at a book signing, don't walk by with your eyes averted. Come up and say hello. You don't even have to buy a book or bring us candy or chocolate milk. But it's okay if you do. ;-)

* * *
Gayle Trent is a full-time author. She is currently at work on a new cozy mystery series involving her hobby, cake decorating. The series features Daphne Martin, a 40-year-old divorcee who has begun the second phase of her life with a new home and a new business venture--Daphne's Delectable Cakes. Gayle lives in Bristol, Virginia with her husband, daughter and son.

Visit Gayle's Websites:
Daphne's Delectable Cakes
Gayle's Squidoo Page on Freelance Writing


  1. Hello Wendy! Hello Gayle!

    I promise you I won't avert my eyes when I see authors around. Hehee... Great post and I've totally enjoyed it. That book cover looks delicious!

  2. What a fun post! Thanks, Gayle. Since you live in Virginia, I'm sure you're a Hokies fan!

  3. Thank you, Alice and Bermuda Onion! And, yes, we are Hokies fans! We have stiff competition from the Vols fans (I live near the TN border), but it's about 50/50 in this part of the country.

    Take care,

  4. What a great post, had me laugh,. I live in Virginia to.

  5. Ahh now, you can't beat a good cosy mystery, especially this time of year :)

  6. What a great story! Thanks Wendy for hosting and Gayle for a great read. I felt like I was there with you. :o)

    It sounds like you had a really fun time at the Women's Expo--I'll have to attend sometime.

    I think you make an excellent point. Other authors I talk to say the same exact thing--they just want to chat with readers. I know shoppers in bookstores etc. tend to feel weird if they don't buy the author's book, but that's not necessarily all it's about. I used to be a retail manager, and we'd get a lot of looky-loos, but I always enjoyed talking with them no matter if they bought anything or not. It makes the day go by quicker, and the event more fun. It's not often we get to meet authors in person, so if you ever see one, stop by and say hi. I find they're the most interesting people to talk to. :o)

  7. I love it when authors talk about book signings. Gayle, may all your future signings be good, and none "very bad."


  8. Thank you everyone for stopping by. And thank you Gayle for visiting.

    This is a great topic. The local book stores in my town don't often have signings, which is such a shame. I will make a point the next time though of stopping and saying hello if they do.

  9. Great post. Always fun to hear the author's perspective. :)

  10. I was wondering if anyone would ever start writing a cozy mystery about cake decorating! Can't wait to read it, even the cover looks yummy!

  11. Jen - I'll be posting my review of the book tomorrow. I think you would like it. :-)

  12. What an awesome and fun post! I LOVED it! I wish we had author signings around here, I think it would be wonderful to go to those events and meet such great creative people.

  13. What a terrific post! So true that people have a tendency to avert their eyes. I make a point of at least smiling because I used to be involved in a wonderful writing group with many published authors. One author told me a really funny story about a woman who was trying so hard to appear not to notice the author that she ran smack into a 5-foot stand-up poster of Harry Potter. When he went to help her up, she acted like she was terrified of him, so he backed off.

  14. That's a terrible way to set up a book signing! Good gravy.

    But now I'll try to talk to any authors I see in stores although I'll probably say something totally idiotic.

  15. April - I wish there were more author signings in my town too. Most of the authors I'm interested in head for Los Angeles though, which isn't always convenient for me because of the distance.

    Nancy - Oh no! That poor woman and author! LOL

    Carrie K - I get so tongue tied when standing in front of an author! I'm working on it, but I go all weak in the knees. LOL

  16. Thanks Wendy and Gayle for a most enjoyable post. Now I know what a signing's like:)


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