Going Home to Launch

Yesterday, I stood before the family, friends, and new readers who would now be friends gathered in the Shallow Well United Church of Christ fellowship building for my book launch. I was ready to end the anticipation and step forward and present the book I’d worked on for the past ten years.

“It’s only fitting that I come back here to my home community to launch my first book,” I said. “This is the place where my faith started and my dreams began.”

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With a brief overview of the scope of the book I started the readings with a portion of the preface. I looked out over the group, seated at the round tables, making it like a family reunion–  ready to share a meal of fellowship. The woman who introduced me, LaVerne was the one who’d invited me to meet with the Women’s Fellowship group. Those women made the food for the reception and were now sitting in the audience. Seeing their faces reminded me of the solid support of my home community.

I wanted the group to travel with me on that first solo journey to Sedona, to get the feel of being in the car as I drove from the dessert to the plateau to the rocky hills of my destination city. And once there, I wanted them to breathe in the fresh air of freedom when I was released to travel alone. By hearing about the significance of that place, my readers would understand why my book cover by Madrid designer, Rocio Martin Osuna had the right tone for my story.

I’d spent most of Thursday picking out the portions of the book that I’d read; it was harder than I thought. When you know intimately all 213 pages it’s hard to choose what will fit within an hour presentation, how to reveal enough to pique interest but not to give away all of the story, what will resonate with that particular audience. I had been praying for those who would come to the launch. It was so gratifying to look out and see those people I’d prayed for, the ‘people in my path.’

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When I was telling about the journey and stopping to read portions of the book, I had to keep focused even though I wanted to acknowledge family who’d just come in. From the corner of my eye, I recognized my Aunt Ann making her way with her walker over to a chair. She is 92 and came with her daughter, my cousin, Laurie. They, along with other Smith family cousins, represented the deep and loving relationships that had been nurtured by my Grandma Smith. While Mama wasn’t able to be there, her family  had been and after the reading when I hugged my Aunt Ann, she said, “We’re so proud of you, honey.”

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My Aunt Ann with Smith cousins

There were also cousins from the Rosser side of my family, providing support over the years and on this day of celebration. Last week when I was attending to the final details of the reception, I practically had my cousin, Sandra on speed dial. She came through with providing table cloths and decorations, putting everything together with an artistic eye. She purchased the first copy of the memoir and encouraged me when my energy was low with her enthusiasm saying, “I just can’t put the book down. I can’t believe how that Tara treated you!”

Besides my family, there were friends from my writing group that surprised me by making the drive to Sanford to be part of the celebration. They have critiqued the story many times and if it weren’t for them, I don’t think I would have completed the book. Bill, Ted, and Jill all fellow writers know the long hours it takes and one day I’ll be attending their book signings. I wish I had a picture of us together but did get this one with Jill.

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My friend, Delores was there. She’s in the book– the one I go to the Blue Ridge Mountains with right after starting chemo. We’ve been texting this week about the launch and whether or not she’d be able to come. Her husband is going through chemo now and she has seldom been away from his side. I told her to fix a plate for him, in case he had the appetite for any of those sweet and savory foods.

I don’t want to leave out other folks who came, because each one has a special place in my heart and I’m deeply grateful. But I need to stop now, and get this post out there. I had to rush with this one, so there’s not enough time to go back and polish it up.

My friend, Mary who is a poet and the leader of the Write to Heal Group that I participated in at Waverly Hematology/Oncology, told me when she bought her book, “I feel like I know you now, seeing you in this place.”

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Mary in the pink jacket with the naturally curly hair!

And she was right. Surrounded by my friends and family in my childhood community, she was seeing me where I’m most at home. It was fitting that I returned there to launch.

Here are more pictures! Thanks to Everyone for making my day so special!

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My older sister, Harriet, made the cake as she did my wedding cake back in 1978

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My husband, David– taking up the money and a constant support

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My friend-since-first-grade, Donna at the drink table. My cousin, Danny buying a book.

16 thoughts on “Going Home to Launch

  1. I’m so glad you were able to get this post up so quickly–I was waiting patiently to hear about the launch. The picture of you reading your BOOK is powerful, as are the others, especially the cake that Harriet made. You look gorgeous, radiant, like a new bride! Congratulations!

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    • Hey Jennifer,
      Yeah, when I got home at 7:00 last night, I was so tired, overwhelmed with thankfulness, and stuffed with cake that I could hardly write a sentence! Also, I needed my friend’s pictures because my phone had been used with charging the credit cards with the Square.
      I did feel joyful, and in some ways it felt like the week of my wedding–with so many details and then the moment finally arrives. Thanks for your kind and generous words, now, as always!
      Best to you,
      Connie

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    • Hey Judy,
      Thanks so much for your encouragement. I’m hoping to work out my glitch with Amazon soon so they’ll upload the paperback. My Ebook is on Amazon but if you’re like me, you still prefer the feel of a ‘real’ book in your hands.
      Thanks again for your support!
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Love it, I don’t know you, but feel like I do! Well done, and what a wonderful community to launch from!! Please post when the “real” book/paperback is ready, I’ve love to buy it and read it. Cheers! MJ

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    • Thanks so much, MJ. It is a wonderful community and if you were there, you’d feel like you were at home, too, I bet!
      I’m more hopeful now about Amazon because they just accepted that file–they’ve been rejecting and they do a final review before the paperback can go live–say it will take up to 72 hours. I will post that and other details about the book on my Author Connie Rosser Riddle business FB page. Hope you’ll follow me there for more frequent updates. I’ll also send it out on my blog. It is pretty rewarding to put my name in the search box on Amazon and the Ebook comes up!
      I appreciate your support.
      Best to you,
      Connie

      Liked by 1 person

  3. What a wonderful day, with family, friends and people on your path! Now you will make so many more friends with your book. Best for you- and I agree with everyone- the cake looked amazing.

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    • Hey Jena,
      Thanks so much. Yes, I’m still enjoying the memory of Saturday as I start into this new week. I was so ready to eat a generous-size serving of cake when I finished. It did not disappoint!
      Thanks for your support, Jena.
      Best to you,
      Connie

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  4. Well, I see that your support system is broad and very deep. All you have gone through and conquered that which is your foundation. The Solo Journey is a testament to your strength and stay. There is much anticipation in me to see where you take this. Great Job.

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  5. Pingback: Sharing an Inspiring New Book by Connie Rosser Riddle « Jena Books

  6. It looks like you had a wonderful time at your book launch, Connie – I’m so glad. I’m enjoying reading your book (albeit rather slowly at the moment…) as much as I’ve been enjoying reading your blog. Keep writing!

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    • Hey Julia,
      Thanks so much for reading my blog– and my book! Love knowing I have a UK reader. Hope you’re having a spot of tea as you read.
      I also hope you are writing, finding your voice with your blog or whatever form your writing takes.
      Best to you,
      Connie

      Like

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