By David Heinzmann
First of all, if you're in Chicago and find yourself downtown tonight please stop by the Billy Goat Tavern, where I'll be signing copies of A WORD TO THE WISE most of the evening. Apologies that I didn't post notice here earlier, but it just sort of came together at the last minute. I'll be there by 6:30 and am likely to stay later than I should.
It's been a messy, but fun two weeks since the official publication date of my first novel. Messy because maybe December is not the smoothest time for a first book to come out from a small press.
Dec. 9 was the publication date, but Five Star didn't start shipping orders until a few days after that. Many people, bless them all, ordered copies of the book as Christmas presents but because of the lag between publication date and actual shipping notices from the publisher, Amazon sent notices out saying orders were unfilled and could be canceled if people didn't want to wait.
Anyway, Amazon sent new notices when they received the books and it seems to have worked out for the most part. I've gotten emails from people all over the place saying they're holding my book in their hands. It's a very cool sensation. Let the fun begin.
It reminds me a bit of my first newsapaper byline, magnifed many times. Somewhere around here I still have a copy of a tiny 6-inch story I wrote in 1993 about desperate CPA from western Maryland who used a BB gun to rob a bank in West Virginia. I was a cub reporter at the Associated Press in Baltimore with about a week's worth of experience in journalism at the time. Wasn't much of a story, but the Baltimore Sun ran it with my byline and I dutifully clipped it out and sent it to my mother. She of course had it matted and framed and gave it back to me a few months later.
I soon got used to seeing my name in print, attached to reporting in the paper. But this is of course very different. Other writers said just wait till you hold that book in your hand. They were right. I sat in the parking lot of the post office last week after picking up a box of them, turning the book over and over, flipping the pages, reading through passages to make sure last-minute edits had made it. But really just stunned to be holding the thing in my hand.
I've been stalking my local book stores, which are still waiting for their orders, waiting to actually see it on a shelf. I'll probably take a picture.
Afraid I don't have a whole lot of grand thoughts this morning. I'd love to see people at the Billy Goat tonight (the one at Michigan and Hubbard, of couse). If that's not possible, please mark your calendars for Sunday, Jan. 24 at Centuries and Sleuths in Forest Park. Augie Aleksy is kindly having me in for a signing and discussion, and I intend to drag whoever shows up down next door for a drink afterward.