Jeanette Bennett

The Blog of JEANETTE M. BENNETT - Indie Author from the Scablands of Eastern Washington

Friday, November 22, 2013

Indies First Day - Support Your Local Indie Bookstore

Saturday, November 30th (the day after Black Friday) is Small Business Saturday—aka “Indies First” Day. Indie authors aren’t the only Indies. There are indie musicians, indie film-makers or in this case Indie Bookstores. The mark up on books is one of the lowest in retail, so a person opens a bookstore as an act of love rather than to get rich. And with corporate booksellers and Amazon, Indie Bookstores are becoming an endangered species. They are too endearing to be allowed to disappear.

So Sherman Alexie has called all authors to help support their local Indie Bookstore. (Here is his letter to all of us.) Go to your friendly neighborhood book dealer. Sell your books. Sell other people’s books. But most importantly “sell” the store!

I’m going to be at Adventures Underground on Indie’s First Day. I will be sharing the limelight with Patricia Briggs...okay, the edge of the limelight. Patty has made the New York Times Bestsellers list and I am a big fan (go buy her books!) Her most popular series is about werewolves, vampires and faes all living in the Tri-Cities, urban hub of the Scablands. She has probably done more than anyone to let the world know we do exist—although I’m sure everyone outside the Scablands thinks she made this place up. Patty is a nice person--she will be spending most of her time at the store suggesting others peoples’ books to shoppers. Tis a noble shadow I shall stand in.

If you are in the Tri-Cities drop by. If you are not in the area (and 99.99% of you aren’t) please do your part to help your local Indie Bookstore. If you are an author find a local mom and pop establishment and offer your help November 30th. Write a blog to promote “Indie First Day.” As for you readers, go to your local Indie and buy Christmas presents. My book can now be ordered by most bookstores (hint, hint.) Well, at least buy one of Patricia Briggs books.

Adventures Underground - a geek friendly store that has a place for gamers to meet. They also are nice to Indie Authors. They have a huge selection of new and used book and can ship anywhere in the world! (So you can be there in spirit.)

Patricia Briggs -  If you haven’t read her, start with Moon Called, the first of her Mercedes Thompson series. (Mercy is an auto mechanic by day, coyote shape-shifter by night.) Patty really captures the Tri-Cities. It’s the perfect place for werewolves, vampires and fairy folk to hide since no one seems to know the place exists.

Sherman Alexie - for those of you who don’t know who Sherman Alexie is, don’t worry. Your great grandkids will be reading him in Lit Class.
A conversation with Sherman Alexie

In my book, Walking a Fine Timeline, I have my character, Dr. Serendipity Brown, speaking at an Energy Symposium at the University of Washington in the Sherman Alexie Theater in the year 2353. I’m not sure when they built that theater to the state’s illustrious native son, but it will be built someday.

Saturday, November 30, 2013 (9:44 p.m.) update:

Photo by author Ellen Tomaszewski
The event went well. The owner was delighted. I think we helped sales. I hoped all of you helped out your friendly neighborhood Indie Bookstore wherever you may be. (If not, makeup days will be accepted.)

I had a fan come up and gush over me. She said she loved my stories so much. I was quite thrilled by this and thanked her. Then she said "I've read all your Mercedes Thompson books!" I explained I wasn't Patricia Briggs and pointed her over to Patty. Hey, I'll take any praise...even that meant for someone else.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Don't Kill the Kitten!

I had an odd dream last night. I usually don’t remember much of my dreams, but this seemed especially vivid. I ran into Mark Lindsay walking down a country road. Most of you don’t know who he is, but Mark was the lead singer for Paul Revere and the Raiders way back when. I had a crush on him at 14, I suppose because I felt a connection to him. He too is from the Pacific Northwest, a Pisces and part Cherokee.

Yeah, you are saying “fantasy old flame,” we know where this is leading, but it was nothing like that. Mark looked older than I remember him as a kid. He was wearing jeans, a flannel shirt and a serene expression. He seemed surprised that I remembered him, because so few do nowadays. But he wasn’t bitter. He said he didn’t have to be on top. We discussed the fleetingness of fame and how it wasn’t that important.

Scene change: I decide I better go back to work as a graphic artist. I create a form from a template which got printed wrong and I try to show my employer it was not the fault of my setup. For some reason the only way to correct this is to kill a kitten. I reluctantly give him poison, and hold the dying creature, trying to comfort him. As I watch him get weaker I decide I can’t go through with it. I shove my finger down his throat, getting him to throw up the poison and tell the print shop I work for that I quit. I go back to trying to save the kitten I had just tried to kill. At that point I wake up.

Now I was a graphic artist for about 25 years and I never had to kill a kitten. I asked my psyche-major husband what this all meant. He said it was simple. The kitten was my book.

Yeah, about twenty-five years ago I had tried to kill my need to write. I thought it was dead but it was just comatose. Five years ago I made it vomit up the poison and have worked hard to revive it into a lively kitten again. And I have felt guilty that I am playing with it, instead of getting rid of it and getting a real job. No, let the kitten live.

Yet so many of us feel we can’t be writers unless we are on the New York Times Best Seller’s List. I think that’s why Mark Lindsay showed up to act as Shaman. But why Mark Lindsay? Did my subconscious feel I was so shallow I would only listen to a cute guy? Or was there some other reason? The next day I Googled Mark Lindsay and found he hadn’t lied to me. After his star fell to earth, he just picked himself up and strolled off to find new adventures. He worked behind the scenes at record companies, wrote music scores for movies and did commercial jingles. He is currently performing around the country, letting older fans feel like teeny-boppers again and letting younger ones see what all the fuss was about. He looks content. So apparently Mark wasn’t lying to me. You don’t have to be number one to be successful. You just have to follow your bliss.

Maybe that’s why my writing career was a kitten. I thought it was because I love kittens, but perhaps it has a deeper meaning. Kittens can grow up to be cats but never tigers or lions. And that’s okay. Cats may be more common than tigers but they will never devour you. They are much easier to live with.

So whatever your dream, let it live. Don’t kill the kitten. Pet it until it purrs.

Of course kittens can grow up to be pretty dang big!