First, have an idea. Have a vision of how you'd like it to be (what's in your control, that is, not the stuff that's beyond your control like when the book will be released or how many people will be there, but it's nice to Dream Big anyway)! For me, this was all about "beautiful skulls" (as many balked about conceiving of such a thing) and a nod to Dia de los Muertos which, for me, involves food. I also knew that I wanted to have my launch signing at an independent bookstore and wanted to invite a lot of local people so I did my research and made a contact guest early so when I found the greatest place to be (The Odyssey Bookshop, which, by the way, is awesome!) I could hand them my list of people for numbers and I had an invitation ready to go!
Then there was the all-important matters of ambiance & food, two of the MOST important elements to having a good gathering. (And, if you know anything about me, games, theme parties, or the famous story of the Birthday Moth cookies, you know what was bound to happen next...)
It starts with insanity. In this case, beginning with buying Styrofoam skulls on sale post-Halloween and storing them forever. Knowing the incident of the Birthday Moths, it is vitally important to invite some equally-insane artistic friends to join in the fun! Hand each creative person a skull with the instruction, "Make this pretty." and sit back to witness the magic.
I am amazed any ANYONE who can make a paintbrush go where they want and this was just stunning!
A gem-studded skull! We joked she should have used a Bedazzler gun.
Vines and floral gems and dot-dot-dot-dot-dot-dot-dots... You can see my daughter's contributions in the corner!
These were to be displayed with butterflies and orange flowers on purple tablecloths with pink and orange napkins ala Dia de los Muertos colors. (Of course. Naturally. Anyone else would do the same! *rolls eyes*) The result was something like this:
In the meantime, there is the matter of food. There must be something snack-y, something salty, and something sweet--and, of course, there *must* be chocolate! Aside from the obvious chips and salsa, including hot chili-and-chocolate mole sauce from my favorite inspirational restaurant, Sarapes, I was deeply committed to having sugar skulls, the traditional sweet from Dia de los Muertos. Alas, having the holiday 6 months later than the book launch made this pretty unlikely and while I credit myself with mad skillz in the foodie department, I'm no great shakes with meringue powder and was leery of the molds. But I found these:
*inspirational ping* Oooo! Chocolate! Lollipops! Pearl Luster Dust! *squee* So while the artist friends were busy painting, bedazzling, and beginning to crack under pressure, I experimented with other creative-with-food-and-good-humored friends in the kitchen and we came up with this prototype:
A simple design with small amounts of colored white chocolate. Completely adequate. Lovely. I could have stuck to that and everyone would be quite happy...but I got carried away again.
Sixty individually-decorated, wrapped, and curly-ribboned lollipops later looked something like this:
Gibbering and thankful that I know lots of creatively insane and understanding people, I finally decided I was ready to do things like pick a passage to read and find pens. Little things like that. Then the Big Day came: LAUNCH SIGNING DAY!!! Arriving at the bookshop with bags and bags of food, decorations, and willing cohorts, we created a scene on the food table and a little place at the signing desk for me (thanks to my daughter's contributions of tiny, painted skulls and paper butterflies) and in a blur of what people assured me was a nice reading and a witty Q&A, I sat back to sign tons of books from well-wishing friends, neighbors, bloggers and even fellow author, Kim Harrington!
No, I'm not normally this blurry or fuzzy (except for the hair) but I *am* this smiley!
Then it was over with a sigh and a smile and a dinner out on the town. It happened: I was a published author with a book on the shelf and a signature in pages out in the world. I can't thank Joan and Sydney at The Odyssey enough as well as my friends and family who showed up to show their support! This was a moment I can hold in my head and my heart like a gift to my little five-year-old self like a trusted promise: Look, we did it!
Truly, an event worth waiting for.
...and *then* there was the party! (Stay tuned for pics!)