Some months ago, a co-worker who hails from Hayward, Calif., recommended that I try to land a signing at an independent bookstore in her neighborhood. I contacted Renee, the proprietor of Books on B. After some back-and-forth correspondence, Renee and I came to an agreement for Saturday, July 28.
B Street in Hayward is a thriving hub of activity with restaurants, boutiques, and micro breweries. Books on B is in the middle of it all. The moment you walk into the shop, the smell of books fills your nostrils. It is intoxicating if you are a bookstore nerd like I am. A varied, eclectic selection lines the shelves and Renee and her effervescence twirl around the store like a whirling dervish helping customers and playing hostess.
There was a great turnout for the event. It was a nice mix of my friends from both work and my neighborhood, store regulars and curious shoppers. I signed books, chatted about my novels and read excerpts from them. Renee provided a snack tray and beverages.
If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and find yourself at the end of I-580 or along the I-880 corridor and you love books, be sure to stop in to Books on B. It’s a quaint, cozy shop and you’ll definitely find something great to read. There’s plenty of parking in public lots behind the little plaza as well.
Thank you to everyone who came out and indulged me, and thank you to Renee for hosting me at her fantastic store. I look forward to the next event at Books on B.
I have two events coming up. The first is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 20, at Books Inc., in Alameda, Calif., time TBA, and the second is The Avid Reader in Davis, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m. If you live in Northern California, come on out, I’d love to see you.
Since I became a novelist, many people have asked me how I “got into vampires.” My typical response is that I have been a fan of Gothic Horror since I was very young, that I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula when I was nine years old or so and that I have just been drawn to the genre.
While all of that is true, there is one film that started it all – Dan Curtis’ Dracula starring Jack Palance as Stoker’s titular vampire king. This 1974 made-for-TV movie scared the living daylights out of a then-four-year-old me. Now, I have no idea why my mother had this on the 19-inch Zenith when I was at that tender age. But, I was quite taken with Palance and of course, the character of Dracula.
The digitally remastered film is now available on Amazon Prime video and I just watched it in its entirety for the first time in 45 years. Palance, although uneven, is commanding as Dracula. The great Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend, penned the screenplay for this version. Liberties were taken and characters were omitted but several elements that many adaptations remove from the source material were included.
Dr. Jack Seward, Renfield and Quincey P. Morris are omitted, Lucy Westenra is now the Count’s long-lost love interest, and Jonathan Harker … well, you’ll just have to watch the film. Mina and Van Helsing remain, along with Arthur Holmwood.
The lavish set pieces and countryside scenery add to the richness of the production and they are reminiscent of the many Hammer Gothic Horror productions. There is a fair amount of fangs and blood, especially for a made-for-TV production.
If you are a fan of the genre and Dracula in particular, this is a more than acceptable entry in the canon. Check it out on Amazon Prime.
And the fact that I first saw this film when I was four years old certainly explains quite a bit.
The book tour in support of my second novel, The Dark Descent, wrapped up yesterday with a signing event at the Dublin, Calif., Barnes & Noble store. Geographically, this store is centrally located and offered the best opportunity for friends and colleagues to stop by. Several did just that. So, thank you to the Cortez family, the Griffin-Bailey family, Wayne Deboe, Bill Soliday and Tony Khing for coming by, picking up a book or two and supporting my writing endeavors.
Since The Dark Descent’s release on April 23, I participated in two panel discussions and four signings. I sold dozens of books, handed out just as many bookmarks and postcards, and met even more folks. During the past two months, my first novel, The Dark Truth, was a finalist for the International Vampire Arts and Film Festival’s Golden Stake vampire literature award.
I’ve also had the opportunity to meet and hang out with some groovy authors – K.M. Riley, Mike Esola, Mark London Williams, and Samantha Heuwagen. It’s been great to get to know folks who share my passion for fiction writing. It’s also good to know that we are experiencing the same trial and tribulations as we begin our journeys, kick start existing careers or change directions along the way.
I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting all of the wonderful folks who have stopped by to chat, buy a book, take a postcard or just say “hi.” If you did take a postcard I hope you do decide to purchase and give The Dark Passage series a shot.
Different things work for different people when it comes to indie or small house book marketing. Some writers buy ads on social media platforms or Amazon, some send press releases to various publications, some make appearances on radio, television and podcasts. Some do readings. Some do all of these things and more. I have explored numerous avenues trying to get my books to readers. I have found that I enjoy book signings at Barnes & Noble stores as part of my marketing campaign.
I’m still finding way through these sometimes murky waters and those of you who have decided to take a chance on me and my novels because of a conversation we had at a bookstore – I thank you. And I’d like to thank everyone who has bought and read the books so far, my friends and colleagues who have come out to support, and those folks who stopped by just to see what it was all about.
You never know, I just may take the next book tour out of Northern California.
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to take part in an intimate panel discussion on fresh takes in science fiction, horror and dystopian fiction with three fellow authors from my publishing house, Trifecta Publishing House, at the 2018 SF Comic Con at the Oakland Convention Center in downtown Oakland, Calif..
Samantha Heuwagen (Dawn Among the Stars) made the trip from Atlanta and we were joined by K.M. Riley (Fever Rising) and Mark London Williams (Max Random and the Zombie 500). On Saturday, Mark and Samantha joined me at Sláinte in Jack London Square in Oakland for an episode of the Get the Knaak podcast. Sláinte is an Irish pub with a literary theme and features a giant portrait of Oscar Wilde on the wall.
The four of us enjoyed discussing our books, our processes, and a lively Q&A session. It was a thoroughly enjoyable experience and it’s always good to spend time with kindred spirits and reach new readers.
The journey as a novelist takes many twists and turns and attending and participating in events like this are worthwhile attractions along the way.