I know. Slap me on the back of my wrist. It has been entirely too long since I’ve reached out to you. Believe me when I say that I have missed keeping you in the loop of the Love in a Carry-on Bag tour, but in my defense, I’ve been working every weekend since the publication party on February 25th! It’s been a whirlwind of great times, moving books, signing books, chatting with wonderful people and learning as we go along. I’ve had signings all over New Jersey, hometown of Philly, then down to Prince George’s county, Maryland, where Honey’s family resides. Can you believe that my mother in-law wrote hand-written notes to everyone in her address book to get them to come out to my signing? How sweet was that, and it worked!
I made two stops in New York city. On the first drop, Honey and I participated in a Black Marriage panel at Hue-Man bookstore, a few days later we were down at Tilman’s for a little celebration with Juicy Magazine. Juicy named Love in a Carry-on Bag “the Editor’s book pick” in the May/June issue, it’s an international magazine, so kudos to my publicist Dawn Michelle Hardy. We celebrated over the beautiful vocals of Monique Baines, and toasted speciality drinks named after scenes in the book. It was just lovely, lovely, lovely. Thanks to the Scholastic crew for coming out!
Next hop was Boston. I was nervous about heading up there because this was the first market I went into and didn’t know a soul. But the worry didn’t last long because from the moment I stepped behind the signing table at Frugal Bookstore, the folks rolled out the carpet and treated me like family. My youngest sister is a Delta and a Hampton University alumni, so Virginia was our next stop. It was Hampton High School Day and our first time selling outside. Can I just tell you that the wind tried to blow me over, tear down our display, and make me cry? My hands numb when I scratched my purple sharpie across the page and signed books. Between the weather conditions, standing on my feet, and practically begging the parents on campus to buy my book, I was beat-down, but we moved lots and lots of books. Big shout out to the book clubs in Hampton who came out to support me at Mary Helen’s.
Now, are you still with me, because here’s where it gets juicy. Last weekend I was on a panel at the first annual Newark Harlem book fair. I got to sit next to Wahida Clark, Melvin Childs and JM Benjamin for a discussion on how we (but I really think it was they) became best selling authors, and the adversities that we’ve faced along the way. It was an awesome experience but it didn’t start off that way. Saturday morning, Honey and I wake up a little late, his allergies are bothering him so he’s not in the best mood. He asked me the night before what we needed to bring to the festival. I glanced at the last email that the fair sent and tells him just our merchandise. “Are you sure we shouldn’t pack the tables and chairs just in case,” he asks? “No babe, we’ll be fine.”
So what do you think happens? We get to the fair, and everyone has tables, chairs, tents, the work and all we have are boxes of books! Honey is fiery mad, because the running friction between us is that he is organized and I am not. He plans for a rainy day, and I just decide that perhaps I should have brought an umbrella in the midst of the storm. So we are standing there with nothing to set up on, and I can tell that if it weren’t for our marriage vows he would have probably walked away and left me!
“I’ll be right back.” I tell him. “No let’s just go home,” he says, but I pretend not to hear him. Long story short, it takes me a matter of minutes to rent a table and two chairs, for a mere twenty-five dollars, a small price to pay to salvage this situation. As we finally start setting up, I can tell that he is still as hot as over cooked beef, but I just strap on my saleswoman’s smile and get my butt to selling. Once he starts ringing up purchases hIs blood pressure drops. That and a few pieces of tasty fried chicken that the vendor next to us is selling, and now we are back on track.
Yes, we’ve had our ups and downs, but the book is moving. I’m happy to say, that we’ve sold over 1200 books so far, and still counting. Do you Believe yet? You can do anything, the dream for you is much bigger than what’s in your head. So stop holding on so tight, let go and let God work. Love in a Carry-on Bag is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Ibook and Black Expressions. Spread the word!
And if you haven’t had the pleasure of hearing me read from Love in a Carry-On Bag? Here’s a short scene from my publishing party. Warning: It’s not intended for little ears.