One of my favorite times in every year is Publication Date for a new book. Not only is it a celebration date for “birthing” a new title—but it is the time of year when we hold a Book Launch Party for our fans and friends.
Our first launch party was held in 2009 on the Star of Knoxville riverboat. Over 250 fans, family, and friends came to ride down the river on the paddleboat The Star of Knoxville to celebrate publication of my first novel THE FOSTER GIRLS. With every subsequent title we’ve held a launch party at a special place or at a festival where fans could not only celebrate another publication date with us—but also have a wonderful time at a beautiful spot in East Tennessee.
Saturday, April 8th, we held the Book Launch for my tenth novel DADDY’S GIRL at Wesley Woods Camp and Conference Center off the Old Walland Highway in Townsend, Tennessee—only a short distance from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I had worked for many days, as I often do, to make cakes, sandwiches, dips, and a multitude of snacks for the day…. And a wonderful bluegrass group Clinch Valley Bluegrass came to pick-and-sing and entertain for the event.
The day was beautiful and fair with glorious blue skies and sunshine—and over two hundred fans and friends stopped by during the Open House hours from 1:00 – 4:00 pm to enjoy the day with us.
The Launch was held in Wesley Wood’s Tipton Lodge—a perfect spot with its rustic charm and outdoor porches. Many visitors explored the campgrounds enjoying the wildflowers in bloom or walked up the Bob Hayes Trail to a waterfall and back. Not only did friends from around the area come to our Book Launch but friends from other cities and states like Indiana came in for the day as well. It was a joy throughout the Launch to see long-time fans again and to meet new readers and book fans. We are so grateful to all who came, and below are a few memory photos of J.L. and I with many of those who visited with us. Some photos are ours and others were taken by our guests who visited. We wish we could have taken pictures of everyone!
Special thanks to Teresa at Wesley Woods for helping us set up our event and to Camp Director Tony Lee and others on staff for stopping by to wish us well. Thanks also to everyone who took time from your busy lives to come to our Book Launch—and to Sevierville fan and friend Betty Powell for volunteering to help at the refreshment tables for the day. As busy as we were all day, this help was greatly appreciated!
J.L. and I are also truly grateful to Earl Bull for coming with his Clinch Valley Bluegrass friends to entertain … and to Brenda Hamilton for adding her skills with the hammered dulcimer. We met and got to know Earl and Aurora Bull at festivals attended in past… where Earl and his group performed and Aurora exhibited her beautiful art. One of the unexpected joys of traveling the Writer’s Road has been in making new fans and friends along the way.
Next spring, I’m sure we’ll have another Launch Party to celebrate the publication of my next Smoky Mountain title LOST INHERITANCE, set in Gatlinburg, and to also celebrate publication of J.L.’s and my new parks guidebook DISCOVERING TENNESSEE STATE PARKS. We hope you’ll make plans to come next year! … and please check on the Appearances Schedule on my website for upcoming Book Tour events near you. Hope to see you soon!