A Day With a Klemm

September 16, 2012 at 5:04 pm (In So Many Words) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Klemm.  When I looked up the meaning of my married name, I found a definition somewhat like this one:

German: from Middle High German klem ‘narrow’, ‘tight’, ‘scarce’, hence a
nickname for a thin or inhibited person, or alternatively a topographic name for
someone living in a narrow, precipitous place, from the Middle High German noun
form klemme ‘constriction’.

Read more on FamilyEducation: http://genealogy.familyeducation.com/surname-origin/klemm#ixzz26eR2FcGy

So it should come as no surprise that we have some very interesting daily habits that coincide with being a small, introverted, hobbit-like soul, that does not emerge from the house for days at a time.  First of all, we eat like hobbits:

  • Breakfast – 7am
  • Second breakfast – 9 am
  • Elevenses – 11 am
  • Lunch – 1 pm
  • Afternoon tea – 3pm
  • Dinner – 6 pm
  • Supper – 9 pm

In between all these meal times is a whole lot of coffee, a morning cleaning ritual, and lots of reading.

I get really into my books and the characters involved.  And with that engagement comes an intense need to invite them in my home the same way I would a welcomed but unknown guest.  I prepare coffee, make sure we have had our meals and have later meals prepared, clean the house (sweep, mop, vacuum, do the dishes and wipe down counters) and then I am ready to sit down with my future new friends – the lovely people portrayed in books.

So, I’m writing this blog post in between Elevenses and mopping the floor.  My coffee is ready (more than ready, I’m on cup two – and my cups are overly large mugs that fit about half a French press in each serving) thinking about Louise de la Baume le Blanc de la Valliere and how we are going to enjoy some afternoon sandwiches together.  That’s crazy book nerd talk for: I am going to be reading more of Karleen Koen’s Before Versailles while I munch on chicken salad sandwiches (I’m addicted to HEB’s Rotisserie Chicken Salad) and sip even more coffee.

I do the same thing before I write.  Which is probably why I’ve been working on the same novel since I was 14 years old.  Karleen said yesterday that it takes her a long time to complete a book, and all I could think was: Thank God, I am not alone, because I am taking forever.  If my debut novel is half as good as hers (Through a Glass Darkly) I feel as though I will have accomplished something in life.  I just want to finish it, get it in print, and have a completed work that someone – anyone – will remember.

I spend days on end reading and writing and eating with my daughter.  It is only for events, planned activities for her benefit, and my random extreme extrovert days that get me out of the house.  (One day, my daughter will probably tell you her mother was a bit wacky, as when I take personality tests I come out equally extroverted and introverted depending on the day.  Some have misused the term bipolar on me, but I got that checked out and I’m not.)  Yesterday I spent the whole day at Half Price Books running around and giving things away… today I will huddle up with Louise and Louis XIV and whoever my daughter interupts me with (LadyBug Girl a constant play friend in our house).

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The Importance of a Book Signing

September 16, 2012 at 2:47 pm (Events) (, , , , , , )

Some people will tell you that book signings are old-fashioned, a thing slowly creeping into the world of publishing past.  As both a reader and an event coordinator, I have strongly say that it is not.

As an event coordinator, I’ll tell you that yes, they can be slow.  People don’t stop as often as they maybe used to.  If it’s an author they are unfamiliar with they have a tendency to be stand offish, uncaring, or nervous.  Fix this by offering candy or baked goods, or even a few free books, and you’ve sealed the deal.  Like a sales person, all you have to do is get them up to the table.  Your merchandise, a friendly face, and their sheer curiosity will do the rest.  As an event coordinator I will tell you that you shouldn’t worry if not very many people buy your book that day, that’s not entirely the point of a book signing.  The point of a book signing is to get your face, your name, your book titles and book covers lodged in their brain, constantly tickling the edges of their frontal lobes.  Every time they see your work, for years to come, they will say in their head: I met him/her, I should buy this.  In this day of e-books, many wont buy from you in a brick and mortar store, but will rush home and purchase a kindle edition.

As a reader with severe extrovert tendencies, I will tell you that it is incredibly exciting.  Meeting an author, whether you love everything they’ve ever done, or just barely opened the first page of a book, or have never heard of them – to me – is so very exciting.  I want to hear their voice and the way they talk, let their real voice intertwine a bit with the inner one I’ve imagined in my head.  I want to know a few factoids, a few mannerisms, put their work in a greater perspective.  Yesterday, when I met Karleen Koen for the first time, I just wanted to bask in her author-ness, in her bookishness.  Of course, I ended up chattering hopelessly because that’s what I do, but my oh my how awesome it was to hang out and listen.  It made me want to get home afterward as quickly as possible and finish reading the book that I had meant to finish before the signing.  It made me want to buy the other books she has written, and all I can think about this morning is that there is a signed copy of Now Face to Face in hardback sitting on the shelf at the store… and how it needs to be mine.

My goal is to bring more book signings to Half Price Books Humble and one day maybe be as event filled as Murder By the Book in Houston.  Book signings are not dead and they should never be dead.  If you are an author interested in setting up a book signing, email me at andiklemm@rocketmail.com.

 

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Happy Birthday Half Price Books Humble!

September 16, 2012 at 1:09 am (Events) (, , , , , , , , , )

Today was so much fun for me – a Mommy’s Day Out if you will – spent at Half Price Books in Humble celebrating the 10th year of business. (The whole company’s 40 year anniversary was earlier this year.)  Much of my day was spent handing helium balloons to children as they passed by, another solid bit was giving away free stuff over the intercom, and the rest was hanging out with really awesome people and eating Barbecue (Dickey’s Barbecue Pit moved in down the sidewalk and their food is heaven! They donated sample trays for our patrons as well as gift cards to raffle off.)

Delaney Rhodes and customers enjoying a chat.

Karleen Koen and Delaney Rhodes are both delightful people and I truly enjoy chatting with them.  Delaney has been with us before, and kicked our morning off with a bang giving away 30 copies of the second book in her series.  She was at the store earlier this year with her first book and is such a personable author, with a bright cheerful smile for everyone.  Plus, she gives out chocolate.  No one can pass up a good candy bowl.

Karleen Koen is a best-selling historical fiction author and was also so much fun! I love talking with people so much, and Karleen is so full of ideas and charm.  She gave me a few awesome ideas for future events that I plan to fully implement come Spring – so keep checking in! And a few book recommendations that I can’t wait to look into.  One was Alice Hoffman, apparently one of her favorite writers, Karleen’s whole face lit up when she talked about the book Turtle Moon.

Karleen holding up the “readers” she had to borrow because she left hers at home!

She is also a big fan of the children’s author Rosemary Wells and told me all about the Bunny Cakes series, which of course I now have to go get for the kiddo!  At the end she was kind enough to sign not just my books, but she signed copies of all the used books we had in stock today.  So even if you missed the signing, you might be able to find a surprise signed copy in the fiction section if you go now.

My apologies for any fuzziness in the photos. I have arthritis in my right hand and it shakes when I hit buttons.

Don’t forget Banned Books Week is coming up! http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/bannedbooksweek

Also, if you are an author looking to do a book signing, please email me at andiklemm@rocketmail.com.

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10 Year Anniversary Party!

August 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

As of September 13th Half Price Books has been opened in the Humble area for 10 years! So on Saturday, September 15th, we’re having a party! Come join the fun… book signings, raffles, barbecue, live music in the evening, what more could you want?

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Get Ready for HPB Humble’s 1st Book Club Meeting!

August 30, 2012 at 1:52 am (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I made and printed little post cards in preparation of the September 3rd Book Club Meeting (8pm-9pm at HPB Humble!).  We will be discussing Koen’s Through a Glass Darkly.  Feel free to print a copy for yourself.

Pamela Aidan

Paul Anderson

Jean Auel

Bernard Cornwell

Umberto Eco

Karen Essex

Diana Gabaldon

Kathleen O’Neal and W. Michael Gear

Pauline Gedge

Margaret George

Philippa Gregory

Karen Harper

Melinda McGuire

Michelle Moran

Delaney Rhodes

Anya Seton

Anne Easter Smith

Wesley Stace

Also…

Eleanor Hibbert, who also writes under the names:

Jean Plaidy

Victoria Holt

Philippa Carr

Eleanor Burford

Elbur Ford

Kathleen Kellow

Anne Percival

Ellalice Tate

Don’t forget we will be meeting the first Monday of the month through out the Fall/Winter 2012.  Here’s this season’s reading roster:

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Through a Glass Darkly – A Review

August 16, 2012 at 6:46 am (Events, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

I am reading from a first edition. Click the image to view the most recent book cover.

Title: Through a Glass Darkly

Author: Karleen Koen

Publisher: Random House

Genre: Historical Fiction

Length: 743 pages

*Spoilers*

Depressing. Intense. Captivating. Intriguing. Dramatic. I end this book exhausted.

Karleen Koen has effectively dragged me tooth and nail, screaming, begging to stop, through roughly 6 years (if I followed the timeline correctly) of Lady Barbara Alderly Montgeoffrey’s life.  It was long, excruciating, and well, brilliant.  I am so tired, feeling as though I lived through it myself, and wonder how Koen managed to write 700 pages of this 1700’s soap opera without bawling her eyes out daily.  The children die, the brother commits suicide, the husband has a male lover… can anything go right in this poor woman’s life? The only solace was knowing it was fiction, although I was constantly reminded of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire whose life was pretty awful and unfortunately true.

Even more, up until the last few pages, I wondered how on earth two more novels could possibly follow this one (I didn’t realize while reading that Dark Angels is a prequel, not a third piece of Barbara’s life).  But now, I find myself itching to get to the library or book store to see if the second book (Now Face to Face) is available.  What will happen to Barbara in Virgina?  It’s ridiculous how a book I whimpered through has me so captivated – guilty pleasure at its finest.  It seems I’m full of guilty pleasures lately, what with my recent Cassandra Clare binge.

I feel terrible reviewing this book, describing it so crudely.  Koen states on her site:

“This was such an innocent experience for me, writing without realizing others would read me and have opinions about everything. I’ll never be able to write with the innocence this book displays, but it’s my goal.”

and I don’t wish to be the person that adds to that loss of innocence.  The book is good, it really is.  Just probably isn’t the best of books to read while plodding through Les Miserables.  It makes it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel in the middle of a rough week!

I can’t wait to discuss this book with other readers, as this is the first official Half Price Books Humble Book Club pick.  Koen is a Houston resident, so I thought having a local author on the Book Club’s first set of titles would be both exciting and appropriate.  The meeting will be held September 3rd from 8 – 9pm, led by yours truly, and I’m getting very antsy.  There’s still time to pick up a copy and read the book in time to join the discussion! You won’t be sorry, and there will be more exciting event announcements for September to come… So stay tuned, and start enjoying your Karleen Koen binge now.

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Coming This Fall…

August 7, 2012 at 10:28 pm (Events) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

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