Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The First Book Signing

Well, tonight's the night! I'm having what all aspiring authors dream about--my first book signing! Thankfully it will be among friends, some old, some new, at the Hamlet Fine Art Gallery in downtown Charleston. I'll be reading from my novel, The Spirit of Sweetgrass, plus I've been working hard in the past few weeks painting new works for tonight. Here's a sneak preview of one of them, "Wade in the Water II".

I'm also excited that Nakia Wigfall, president of the Mt. Pleasant Sweetgrass Basketmakers' Association, will be there as a guest of honor and may offer some of her beautiful baskets for sale. With a group like this of artists and Lowcountry enthusiasts plus just a tiny bit of champagne, should be a good time for all. I'll let you know how it goes!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Best Blurb

I spoke with my niece, Sierra, today on the phone and as usual, it was a treat. She's in the 5th grade has an unbelievable imagination, and she's an avid reader. Fairy books mostly. Sierra said she started reading my novel, The Spirit of Sweetgrass. I suppose there must be one lying around her house. And I have to quote her:

"Aunt Nikki, I started reading your book. I was reading the prologue, and it was just so interesting. It reeled me in like a mouse to cheese."

First of all, when I was her age, I had no idea what a prologue was. Next, "a mouse to cheese"? Really? Wow. I think I can quit now. I've just been paid the HIGHEST complement. Although I did suggest to my sister that she might want to screen the book first --there may be some issues inappropriate for Sierra's age. Still, it meant the world to me that I was able to "reel her in." Let's just hope other readers feel the same!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Spirit of Sweetgrass on the Web

The Spirit of Sweetgrass and author interviews are featured on some terrific blogs and sites right now. Be sure to drop by and check them out!

Novel Journey

Amber Miller

The Motivated Writer

Monday, February 19, 2007

Revelations About The Pre-publication Phase

My debut novel, The Spirit of Sweetgrass, is being released this week. YES! It's an amazing, almost surreal time for me. At this stage, some authors and reviewers have read the book and have been very kind. It's encouraging to have positive feedback from people in the publishing industry whom I admire so much. But right now--before the book is fully dispersed to those who have pre-ordered or those who might pick up a copy in a local bookstore--right now is a very special time for me for this reason: the people I care most about in life are reading my novel right now.

When we write, we don't just tell a story, we write things that come from deep down in our souls. Writing a novel is an extremely personal experience, and when family members and friends read your work, you allow them into your life, into your heart in a very intimate way. I think it's hard for many of us to open up to loved ones on such level in our everyday lives.

I will always be grateful for the positive reviews and praise from experts for The Spirit of Sweetgrass. Nothing can compare with that. But allowing my loved ones into my head and heart one page at a time, is an amazing aspect of this journey that I did not anticipate, and one I'm thankful for right now.

My prayer is that Essie Mae Laveau Jenkins touches the readers of The Spirit of Sweetgrass in the same way she touched me. If for just one person, all of this hard work will have been worth it.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Kite Runner, Masterful

I finished The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini the other night, and I'm still thinking about it. Not only was it worthwhile to learn more about present-day Afghanistan, I also enjoyed the unique Afghan culture of honor and duty, the food, the language...I was fully immersed in this true page-turner and found myself crying at times or on the edge of my seat. The story became completely real to me, and I had to remind myself that this is fiction. That Hassan is simply a character in a novel. That Amir, Baba, and Sohrab are creations of Hosseini's mind.

The Kite Runner is one of the most brilliant novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading. It was at the same time, endearing, disturbing, haunting, and lovingly rendered. I highly recommend The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. It's not simply a novel; it's a moving experience.