Happy Holidays everyone!
I hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season. Mine is going fine, except for all the snow 🙁 I’m not one of those outdoorsy ski/snowmobile/snowshoe winter people, I hibernate until I can go on vacation. We’ve also had 5 snowstorms in 2 weeks, which is crappy/annoying but I know it’s only weather, so let’s move on.
I’ve been a published author for about 5 years now. I’ve had lots of great experiences, book signings, launches, readings. I’ve given talks, went to conventions (once as an invited guest! Thanks to the great folks at Hal-Con), had fans approach me for autographs, dropped off signed copies of books, been interviewed on the radio, newspaper and online, had fans write me on Facebook and held three book launches (one of them I had a guy come up to me to who was a descendant of Catherine Mandeville Snow). All of these experience have been great but never had a fan travel from outside the province (or country) to meet me…until a few weeks ago.
The above photo was taken from his Facebook page and was shot at Cape Spear. But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’ve known Andrew T. Kuligowski for about 5 years, right around the time my first book was published. He was kind enough then to post a review of my first book, The Newfoundland Vampire, and I responded. I later looked him up on Facebook, sent him a friend request, and later contacted him about a free copy of book 2 “Killer on the Road” in exchange for a review, he graciously agreed. Andrew also has been supportive of whatever I am doing online related to my books, whether it is a giveaway, round-up (basically an online party where free eBooks are given out, my old publisher Distinguished Press did them and I do something similar now with Four Phoenixes Publishing).
We’ve kept in contact and when book 3 came out (with a publishing group I’m a part of, Four Phoenixes, check us out above!) I sent him a free copy for the usual deal. Andrew is a nice guy and I’ve enjoyed chatting with him over the years, he has a dry sense of humor (which I enjoy) and often posts funny stuff on his page. Earlier this month he sent me a message and said “Hey, I’m coming to Newfoundland, want to meet for lunch?” (there was more and I’m paraphrasing but you get the idea). I was surprised but pleasantly so, I’ve never had a chance to be a tour guide and I’ve never met a fan from so far away (he’s from North Tonawanda, New York but currently lives in FL) and I immediately agreed.
He let me pick our lunch spot (went to Yellowbelly, nice spot if you’re in town) and we discussed what he would like to do afterwards. As we didn’t have a whole lot of time (I had to pick up my wife from work at 3pm and go Xmas shopping) we just went to Cape Spear (as you can see) and I drove him back to his hotel.
I won’t get into what we talked about (unless Andrew replies and wants to) but I’ll say I thoroughly enjoyed meeting up with him. We had some laughs, some beers, food and later shivered in the cold outside at a the very picturesque Cape Spear.
There was a lucky coincidence that also happened, on the way back to his hotel (I drove) we were halted by a parade in downtown St. John’s. In fact it was a Mummer’s Parade. Which gave me a chance to talk about this unique part of our culture. (I won’t get into it a lot, basically Mummer’s are people who dress up, hide their faces and visit people around the holidays, often putting on a show once they get inside)
He was also kind enough to purchase a paper copy of my first book (with US money that I appreciated, the Canadian dollar has been low for years) and of course I signed it.
I dropped him back to his hotel and thanked him for lunch (he was kind enough to treat) and expressed what a pleasure it was meeting him and hanging out.
I should point out (as I’m fairly certain Andrew will) that he did not come only to see me. Andrew loves to travel and Newfoundland was the only province he hadn’t been to yet. So that’s my tale! I hope he doesn’t mind me talking about it. It was great to talk about all my books with her and get his perspective. In his review he compares my books to the Star Wars movies (Episodes IV-VI) so I was most honored and got some good tips for my future writing. I hope he comes back again, maybe he can stay longer next time and it won’t be so bitterly cold. Thanks Andrew! It was a pleasure to be your tour guide and to meet a fan, I hope your travels always bring you smiles and good times.