I had a phone call from a woman in her early 90's with whom I used to work at a local office products, cards, and gifts shop that closed in 2007. I've known her since 1993 when I started working there and we're still friends. She knows I currently work in a medical office and she's dropped by to visit me there. We talk on the phone every couple of months. She has a degree of macular degeneration and no longer drives, has some vision issues, so I really haven't told her much about my books.
However, tonight she asked me what was new and I told her one of my novels had been shortlisted for the OZMA AWARD 2016, and she said, "Excuse me, what was that?" I then had to explain how I've been self-publishing the mountain of manuscripts, sort of excavating my dining room so that one day it may regain its former status as a functional room where people can sit down and eat at the table that really does exist under all those papery things stacked on it and around it.
Then she wanted to know how self-publishing works, how I got the typed pages I printed out into book form. I patiently explained how the computer file gets uploaded and then I design the book on a website and voila, I'm done and the book is out there in the marketplace and I can order copies, if I want them. I don't think she quite understood the process, but she was excited to know that some of the stories I used to hand her as printed out pages from the computer are now in book form.
She bought a copy of Yuletide Stories. I'm dropping it off at her house on Sunday and she's handing me a check. I told her "ten bucks" for my friends, but she insists she's paying me full retail for it. So, all my friends get one free book. My very best friends get one free book each time I publish a new book...they're the lucky less than a handful of people who have the entire library courtesy of kinship or close friendship. So, for my elderly friend, she's getting Always Christmas in My Heart as her free book, not only because she's always enjoyed my annual holiday stories, but because she happens to be mentioned along with my other former co-workers and boss from that little local shop downtown in the dedication (that's the volume where I think I listed just about everyone I know in the dedication just for the fun of testing my memory!)
I don't think that she quite believes the happy go lucky salesclerk she knew, the medical secretary she knows now, is actually an author with a book in the running for a well known award.
Yeah, well, sometimes I don't quite believe it either!!