This past Saturday (April21st) was the third Articulture event in as many years. Of the 10 WhipCity Wordsmith authors who had signed up to attend9 of us made it to the event. Authors began arriving just past 9AM. Our tenth Wordsmith had an emergency and was unable to attend (but she'll still get her swag bag next time I see her!)
The room rapidly became a beehive of activity as authors began whipping out colorful table covers and setting up their spaces with books being offered for sale and associated props to draw the eye of patrons passing through the room. At Ayden's Rogalski's table he had a vintage lantern, some patriotic wreaths, an antique inkwell, quill pen and pieces of parchment he was writing on. (I was the recipient of a sweet thank you note from our 9-year old youngest author during the course of the day, and several awesome hugs!)
Prior to the 10AM opening, author swag bags were distributed to the authors who had books to offer. I also had fun assembling an additional goodie bag for Ayden, and one for Lex. Debbie (Carol's daughter) and Tanya also got goodie bags. Melissa's mom, Elaine Frankonis couldn't make it to read poetry, but Melissa brought home a swag bag for her because she, too, is a Wordsmith.
Kelly had a LED ghost light to draw attention to her book Parapsychology which was one of the bestsellers at the show. I had wands (Black King Takes White Queen), black wolves (Out), and werewolves/wolves (The Clockmaker's Son). I also had some plush cats to represent Ivy's tiger cat familiar, Bex, who is killed by a demon in Black King Takes White Queen (her black warlock husband, Romney, who has no use for familiars takes her to adopt a new cat she names Jem), and Irina's tuxedo cat, Sebo (her vampire lover moves all her belongings to his castle, including her beloved cat, even though he prefers his black wolves). Most of my props found new homes at the end of the day- Bex went to Melissa who changed his name to Oliver (Ollie) after the Otherwords mascot, Sebo went to Kate Anderson, a fellow cat lover. Atka (I had two of these awesome small plush wolves) went to Lex Volker (Kylo-Ren) and Ayden. Ayden also got the small plastic werewolf figurine, and the wolf pocketwatch he had admired several times during the course of the day. Together, Kelly and I sold 21 books during the day which was a pleasant surprise! I was asked when the third in the Ivy & Romney series would be coming out- it's partially written, so maybe later this year Bishop Amid the Pawns will find its way into print. The second book in the series is Black Knight, White Rook and is currently available on Amazon and for Kindle. Overall- The Hanging Man and Other Stories, the limited edition preview of the soon to be published The Clockmaker's Son were best sellers for me as was Disturbing, the jointly written ghost story anthology Kelly and I put together. She even sold a copy of Teleport!
Melissa Volker had a book deal going on at her table- for a few hours it was buy two books get a free surprise book. During the afternoon if became buy one book and get a surprise book for free. Her new book Apocalypse Alice, just published under the Inklings imprint of Dark Ink Press was her best seller. At her table with her was her son Lex Volker who was in the awesome Kylo-Ren costume she made for him for various events and photo-ops, kids party appearances, etc. He was a huge draw for the kids and young people who crossed light sabers with him and posed for pictures. It was fun to watch Ayden in his tricorn hat, shirt, vest, and slacks mock light saber fight with the very tall Kylo-Ren in his futuristic attire.
At the far end of the room ensconced in throne-like armchairs were first time author Lindsay Stenico (and her mom, Barbara) with her novel The Assignment, just published by Dark Ink Press. Lindsay is a freshman at WSU here in Westfield, and also the event and media publicist for Blue Umbrella Books here in town.
Beside Lindsay was Dark Ink Press owner and author Kate Anderson with her two novels Hospital Hill and Shadows in the Ward, and her new non-fiction book, Danvers State Hospital. Kate has a lot of irons in the fire- so we're always happy to see her at an event!
VC (Carol) Russell showcased her lovely poetry in her book Life's Garden. She had some framed poems and displayed the letter she got from President George Bush who praised her for her poem about the war in Kuwait and our boys fighting there.
Beside Carol was Judith Foard-Giucastro with her novel Senior Year, and her recently deceased husband (who was also a Wordsmith) Giuseppe Giucastro's book Joseph The Dreamer- Another Face of God. Judith was working on a joint project with Giuseppe and hopes to see it through to completion.
Rhonda Boulette came down from the hilltowns with her Flitten Kitten Fairytales. Her table was a riot of colors and plush animals and things to look at and touch. She had a big bear in a rocking chair, but was unable to read as planned due to increasing loss of voice during the course of the day. She has some new books in the works. It was fun seeing a plush Wolfgang frog! I passed her a tuxedo kitten who longs to become a flitten...he'll have multicolored wings!
On the other side of the main entrance from the reception hall was Ayden Rogalski with his mother, Tanya, showcasing his FOUR books! He had a number of copies of his new book Ayden's Home- The History of Westfield (which was a sellout!), and his first three books, Ayden's Washington, Ayden's Abraham, and Ayden's Titanic. During the course of the day Ayden was gifted with a hand-crafted tricorn hat which he wore for the rest of the day. He had a ceramic inkwell, a qhite quill pen, and a stack of rectangular pieces of parchment paper that he wrote on throughout the day. I loved the lantern on his table, and the decorative, primitive patriotic wreaths that were at the front f his table. His mom owns Country View Primitives on Franklin Street here in Westfield. It's a nice shop crammed full of antique, vintage and custom crafted primitives. Ayden has his own section- Ayden's Pickin's. He likes bottles- so has that in common with my daughter!
Board members of Artworks brought around bottled water and supplied us with cookies during the day. Most of us sampled Moe's donuts and coffee and food selections from the food truck out front.
During the course of the day we met wonderful people, the artists came up when they had a chance to look at the book offerings and a few books went home with them, Kelly ran down and bought four pieces of art during the afternoon. WSKB Radio talk show host Bob Plasse breezed through near the end of the event making contact with each author and laying down preliminary plans for radio appearances on future shows. Authors made connections with one another, which is one of the purposes of the WhipCity Wordsmiths, connecting authors, discovering resources and those willing to offer help and advice with projects.
WhipCity Wordsmith Geri Johnson stopped by and visited with each author. I gave her her Wordsmith pin which she promptly attached to her new black cap.
Photographers from the Westfield News came through (he totally missed Melissa, but got a good shot of Lex). Those photos appeared in the Westfield News on Monday, April 23rd. The Republican also had a photographer present, but I haven't seen any pictures yet.
At 6PM nine tired authors packed up and headed home for dinner and to put their feet up! The room was left spotless with just tables and a couple of chairs to remove at the end of the day.
At each annual event we learn something new that will make the following year even better. Now that Articulture2018 is over...the Board of Directors will be looking toward 2019 and how to make the event fresh and exciting!
Thank you to all the awesome WhipCity Wordsmiths (Kelly Buffum, Melissa Volker, Lindsay Stenico, Katherine Anderson, VC Russell, Judith Foard-Giucastro, Rhonda Boulette, Ayden Rogalski,) who gathered together to make this event a memorable occasion!
Sandy Sessler- we missed you! Next year, for sure!