Book Signing on a Boat

Caryn and Paul Frink helped me tremendously during the research phase of my third book. They hosted me on their Nordic Tug and answered hundreds of questions. Their answers and suggestions helped shape the story of West of Famous into a suspenseful tale that involves kidnappers, boats, and Loopers.


They invited me to come sign books on their boat at the AGCLA “Looper” Rendezvous in Norfolk, Virginia. They allowed me to use their
names and the name of their boat—SEEKER—in the book. But a book signing on a boat?
It sounded fun.

Kimberly Russo is the Director of America’s Great Loop Cruiser’s Association.

Kimberly Russo, Director of the America’s Great Loop Cruiser’s Association (AGCLA), had also answered research questions. After she
read the book she said, “I would say that the Loopers depicted in West of Famous were very true-to-life.  Besides being friendly, most Loopers are super helpful and are generally willing to assist others they meet along the
way. It’s a pretty close-knit community so they look out for each other and lend a helping hand whenever they can.”

The nickname Looper comes from the path the boats take. They loop around the eastern U.S. by cruising up the eastern coast, traveling in rivers and canals and lakes inland and then down rivers and canals and waterways to the Gulf of Mexico. They tend to winter along the southern coastline and Florida.


They live on boats of many kinds. The smallest was a personal watercraft.

Sailboats and tugboats dominated the marina. Each afternoon at the Rendezvous, they held a crawl. Hosts allowed other Loopers and Loopers-to-be to crawl through their homes. The variety of floor plans and sizes of the boats amazed me. People looking for boats probably became overwhelmed.

Norfolk, Virginia adopted the mermaid as its signature icon. Mermaids showed up in metal, wood, ceramic, and glass.

Most of the Loopers I met lived full-time on their boats. Some owned “dirt” homes and cruised seasonally. The Rendezvous brought together seasoned Loopers, new Loopers, and hopefuls to learn about weather, route
planning, marine electronics, and the joys of using Amazon Prime.

Two families with young children gave a seminar on how they manage schooling, doctor’s appointments, and other issues. I’d have to say I was shocked to see a blind man with a guide dog get off a boat. He and his wife are Loopers.

After a morning and afternoon of workshops and seminars, the Loopers enjoyed the crawls at the Westside Marina in Norfolk and Tidewater Yacht Marina across the river in Portsmouth. Caryn and Paul docked Seeker at the Westside Marina.

During a crowded time on Seeker, I ended up telling guests about the features of the 37-foot Nordic Tug and Caryn talked about my book. Caryn also managed to get my 30-second book trailer to loop on her laptop. Of course, a Looper knows how to loop…


What a wonderful few days! Caryn and Paul hosted me and introduced me to sunsets on the fly-bridge over ‘docktails.’ I’d forgotten how wonderful it felt to be rocked to sleep on a boat. Thank you again, Caryn and Paul, for your friendship!

Thank you, Greg and Sue, for the champagne and the tour of Lucky Me. Cheers to the anchoring experts, Scott and Karen DeVoll.

Lucky Me is owned by Greg Costa and Susan Costa Blais.

If you want to know about the blind Looper see and for a year in the life of a Looper, read Caryn’s blog You can read more about Caryn and Paul’s help in the research stage here: Call Me Trawler Trash.

The next AGCLA gathering is the Fall Rendezvous at Joe Wheeler State Park on the Tennessee River in northwest Alabama, October 14-19. To all the Loopers, happy adventures!

Boca Raton Book Signing

authors at book signing in Boca Raton

Boca Raton event with Author Donna Kelly

Book signings can be hit or miss events. The I Heart Books Event sponsored by the Florida Writers Association took place in Boca Raton on Sunday, May 21. Fifty authors of various genres set up tables of books and giveaway items at the Lakeside Terrace. Nestled between the Hilton and a lovely pond, the venue was gorgeous. The weather was perfect. Author Donna Kelly came along for moral support and to act as cashier. She gamely learned how to operate the credit card reader attached to my iPad.

During the lull between setup and the VIP lunch with readers, I received an email. North of the Killing Hand was a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards in the suspense category. Yeah! Happy dance.

authors at Boca Raton book signing

Authors and VIP Readers luncheon in Boca Raton

I’m calling the Boca Raton book signing a hit. No, I didn’t sell out the box of trade paperbacks of either book. I probably didn’t recoup the expenses of hotel, travel, food, or time. What made this event a hit was the professionalism, camaraderie, and advice shared by the more experienced authors. From Author Mary Lois Sanders–bring book awards to display with the books. *Banging head on table* My book awards sit at home in a drawer. From Author Susan Thatcher: display your books and their themes with color, props, and whatever else will attract readers to pause at the table. Her table invited people to stop. From Author Jim Meyer: buy clear plastic book stands to display the proof copies of each book. My books sat in plain ugly stacks like they were second-hand offerings. Jim said that by using the proof copies, readers can handle them, and page through them instead of new copies. From Author Suzan Johnson: be friendly and engage readers when they pause at the table. As a children’s book author, she greeted the children first, then the parents who paused at her table. She answered questions from children

Boca Raton book signing table

with warmth and grace. This lady understands her readers!

Like Author John Hope, who brought his son Luke along, I brought along someone whose companionship made the time fly. Like many others, I had giveaway items. Window-shopping readers could pick up a key chain (whistle, compass, light) labeled with my website and a paper listing information on my books. Perhaps there will be an uptick in eBook sales from this event. Time will tell. Many authors set up banners to mark their table space. About ten had freestanding, taller-than-me banners. I had two tabletop banners showing cover art.

authors at book signing in Boca Raton

Author Suzan Johnson at the I Heart Book Event in Boca Raton

Authors adorned their tables with lights, electric candles, stuffed animals, baskets of candy, glitter, logo-emblazoned tablecloths, pens, stickers, sign-up lists, and books to suit their genres and themes. From pre-school reading to paranormal erotica, the variety of reading material staggered the mind. If I had not already purchased books from some of the authors at the FWA conference last October, I probably would have brought more books home than my own leftovers. My to-be-read pile already threatens to topple a bookshelf…ah, well.

Thank you, Boca Raton readers, for your support! Happy reading!

Book Signing at Winter Haven Library

The Winter Haven Library will host a book signing on Saturday, November 5 from noon to 2 p.m. for Author Joni M. Fisher. Her second book in the Compass Crimes Series is North of the Killing Hand. A prequel of South of Justicethis latest novel reveals Nefi Jenkins’ life in Brazil and the tragedy that ultimately brings her to the United States.

“A gifted storyteller, Joni Fisher writes with energy and passion that comes to life in her characters. North of the Killing Hand is an intricate and suspenseful read that grips the reader from start to finish.” –John Foxjohn, International, USA Today, and New York Times bestselling author

This story won second place in the 2016 Royal Palm Literary Awards in the unpublished Women’s Fiction category.


North of the Killing Hand wins second place in 2016 RPLA

Book Signings in Florida


On Saturday, November 5 from noon to 2 p.m., the Winter Haven Public Library (Winter Haven, Florida) is hosting a book signing for the second book in the Compass Crimes Series. It debuts on October 16. North of the Killing Hand is a prequel of South of Justice.

cover art

This book is a finalist in the Royal Palm Literary Awards. Winners will be announced at the awards banquet on October 22nd. My friend Author Carol J. Post also has a finalist book. Thankfully we are not competing in the same category–because she’d trounce me. Her book is in the Christian Fiction category. Mine in women’s fiction. All prayers for wins for both of us are greatly appreciated.


Of course there will be books available for sale and signing on November 5th, but for those who want to help boost the rankings of this book–buy a copy online through Amazon and bring it to the signing. Why? I’m glad you asked. Pre-buys accumulate and count as sales on the release date (October 16). Even eBook sales ahead of the release date help raise the book in sales ranking. And higher rankings lead to more sales…you get the picture.


Oh, and puhleeeeze, please post a review online through social media because my books have to compete against so many others and readers are hesitant to buy a book from an unfamiliar author unless a friend recommends it. Amazon is a vast, tough market. It has changing policies about reviews. It can take down, yes, remove reviews if the review seems to be an acquaintance of the author or if it seems the book was given in trade for a review–so if you buy a copy on Amazon and later post a sentence or two reviewing it, then your review will be labeled a VERIFIED review. That means you bought a copy and did not get a copy in trade for a review.

A review simply means clicking on the number of stars you rate the book. You can add a sentence or two. A review isn’t a book report like the kind you dreaded writing in school. Readers tend to skip the long ones and the long ones often reveal plot surprises.

If you are also on Goodreads (a sort of Facebook for readers), then a review there helps also. As a reader, I love Goodreads because it has weekly giveaways of books. Soon it will have eBook giveaways, too!

The book signing in Albuquerque, NM went very well for me and for the many authors involved! I even met Kerry Lonsdale, author of Everything We Keep. She took a selfie of us to post on her social media. If anyone sees it, don’t tell me if I look starstruck. Let me pretend I appeared cool and calm.

South of Justice cover artBOOK SIGNING NEAR ORLANDO

For readers in the Orlando and Altamonte Springs area, I will be signing books at the Altamonte Springs Hilton on Saturday, October 22 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. as part of the Florida Writers Association Conference. I will have copies of South of Justice and North of the Killing Hand. Just look for the grinning woman behind a table of books. Be warned, I’ve been known to hug readers. You are my people.



First Book Signing Event

The Winter Haven Public Library is hosting my first EVER book signing event on Saturday, May 28 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The library is at 325 Avenue A NW, Winter Haven, Florida. Author pals have tried to gently warn me to set low expectations as a newbie author, an unknown. Okay, so I didn’t order THAT many books. Handsome didn’t get a hernia hauling them in after the UPS man stacked the boxes by the front door and ran.

The UPS man ran because he probably realized he was at the house where the crazy newbie author squealed and hugged him when that first box of books arrived for the reviewers. Fair warning. My enthusiasm has not abated.

open book emitting lightsOne box is for the Goodreads Giveaway winners. The other two are for the signing. If the books don’t all sell at the signing, stop me for a copy. I’ll have the leftovers in my trunk. I’ve bought books from Author Frank Stunk from the back of his car. Like contraband for a reading addict. I’ll bet Author John Foxjohn always has copies of his books in his vehicle. He’s a marketing wizard and a mighty fine author of crime fiction and non-fiction.

I even bought a SQUARE. That white square thingy that reads credit cards when attached to a smart phone. It sends money to my checking account. Tested it with a dollar. Works fine. My friend, Delta Ryan, who runs a non-profit mission told me about it.

Sunday night in the church lobby, I squealed when a friend said she had ordered a book. Handsome gave me a look over the rim of his glasses then shook his head. Another friend mentioned that she was reading a copy. I don’t think I’ll EVER get tired of hearing that. I tried to walk with decorum to the car, but I was cartwheeling on the inside.

I will also be speaking with two local book clubs. And book signings in Orlando and Albuquerque. SQUEAL. I also peeked at my book’s Amazon ranking for 5-15-16 and it was ranked 11,871 out of 8,000,000 books. SQUEAL. Amen and amen.

Ahem. Okay, yeah. Time to get back to work to send the next book off for cover art and editing and formatting…to meet the October publication deadline. Back to the writing cave!

I will try to behave at my book signing. I might hug a few readers. No telling if I will be able to contain my joy. All the years of writing and editing will be worth it if readers enjoy the story.