February 16, 2013 ~ Well, today was the big day... it was my first book signing! I was excited and nervous as I didn't really know what to expect. When I first became public with my book I was approached by Joe and Renee with Stoney Creek Inn-Columbia, MO. They wanted to host my book signing and I was extremely happy to have them involved and be the first place to debut my brand new book! Of course I couldn't have a book signing without my wonderful Chamber Ambassadors friends.... what an amazing group of people I call my extended family! Love those guys and gals!
I was really surprised to see Don Laird show up! Since his retirement from the Chamber of Commerce I didn't know when I would get to see him again and it made my day when he showed up! Thanks Don! (Yep, he even bought a book and was going to read it to his grandchildren.... or will his grandchildren read it to him??)
I was very thankful for Jim Robertson (he originally wrote the article for Boone Electric Rural Missouri magazine, Dec 2012) as he was the awesome photographer that captured this exciting yet whirlwind day for me! Once I sat down and started signing autographs (along with Tom Trabue and Peggy A. Guest) we didn't get up until about 4 pm! (The book signing was from 2-4 pm)
It was an amazing day for me. Taking my dream of wanting to write a children's book and making it a reality. Being able to hold my book in my hand was an incredible feeling.... a since of pride. But the moment I saw all the people waiting in a long line to not only purchase one of my books but to get it personalized and signed by me.... I can't even tell you how proud I was. When you take a leap of faith and do something you've never done before not knowing what others may think is scary. I'm not going to lie... after I signed the contract to self-publish my book I had a moment of "Should I really do this?" but I knew that everything with all of this, from the title of the book to the story line to how fast the book was wrote, was too perfect. By perfect I mean it happened perfectly. Once I included Peggy A. Guest in as my illustrator the story came to life. It still had many "Michele-ism's" in it and those of you that know me can hear me throughout the book which is how I wanted it.
Peggy is an amazing artist and someone that has been a part of our family for years. She was working on multiple projects and somehow made time to work on my book. I'm pretty sure she didn't sleep for a couple months just to keep everything moving forward and I know I couldn't have made this possible without her! Joe and Peggy are also the ones that made the red hat rack for me in the ribbon cutting picture and the picture you'll see in a moment!
Then we have Tom Trabue (aka: "Mr. T"). What an inspiration! I have had several people I know go through cancer but there was something about Tom and his journey that would forever change me.... for the better. When he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma in May 2012 I watched a man who normally was more reserved become very public. He was scared and so were we, he didn't know what to expect and nether did we but we did know that he wouldn't be alone on this journey. To watch Tom remain so positive (when he was almost stage 4) and leaned on his family, friends and many people he had never met before to help him was very real. You just don't realize how in a moment your life can change and a lot of it depends on your attitude and the people you have around you. I am proud to say that Tom is currently cancer-free and this whole experience has changed him... for the better.
There were so many adorable kids that came through to get their own autographed copy of "Tom T's Hat Rack" and it was so fun to talk to them! Loved to see them get excited about reading the book or to hear about what they thought if they have already read it!
Loved having the support of my Partner in Crime...er... I mean my Partner in Education, Tanya Alberty and her son's Brendan and Owen there with her and they got books signed for the girls! (Love those Alberty kids!) Also had Angie Gerzen and Janet Swope there too! Thank you!
It was also fun seeing people I went to school with and their kiddos! I am really proud of the community I live in and the wonderful lasting friendships I have made throughout the years. Although we don't have a picture I was able to meet some of Tom Trabue's family including his mom and grandma! Truly makes me smile!
Truly was a wonderful day and I know it wouldn't have been possible without Stoney Creek Inn-Columbia, MO, Village Books, Tom Trabue, Peggy A. Guest, Jim Robertson and the many people that came to show their support! We had between 150-175 people come to our book signing....You all make me smile bigger and I have so much to be thankful for.
(We found our "Shelby"!)
Remember.... everyone has a story to tell and if you don't start it today then when will you?