I am not really the “new book” kind of person. Usually I am patient enough to wait to check it out from the library or adopt it in the wild at a garage sale or thrift store. (Just this week I bought Catching Fire and Mockingjay for 25 cents each at a thrift store.) If I’m really in a hurry there are used books on Amazon. There are a couple of authors I make an exception for, like Stephen R. Lawhead, and I will buy their books new. So consequently – I’ve never preordered a book before, never stood in line at a book store to buy a signed copy, never been to a launch party or midnight release.
That has all changed with the release of Mistaken, the first book to be published by my friend Karen Barnett. Not only did I preorder the book, but last night I went to her 1920’s theme launch party. It was a total blast.
Since booze and prohibition have made criminals out of every man in her world,
Laurie Burke resolves to find at least one honorable man to fill her life. Convinced
that handsome newcomer Daniel Shepherd is connected with her brother’s rum-running
gang, Laurie quickly scratches his name off her list. Daniel has mixed feelings
about returning to the dirty mill town of his youth, but grudgingly agrees to manage
his grandfather’s drug store until a replacement can be found. The moment he meets
Laurie on the windswept bluff overlooking the beach, he knows that if he can earn
her love, he might have a reason to stay. But when Laurie pushes him away–for none
other than Federal Agent Samuel Brown–Daniel wonders if Laurie really is the
upstanding woman he thought her to be. The Strait of Juan de Fuca, just off the
beaches of Port Angeles, Washington, was treacherous water for reckless
rum-runners—and the agents who tried to catch them. So when she realizes her brother
is in danger, romance is the last thing on Laurie’s mind. Yet the people she
believes she can trust, may not be so honorable after all.
The books is about rum-runners so to add a bit of speakeasy feel we were greeted at the nondescript door leading to an upstairs ballroom over a shop in downtown Albany by a doorman. We had to talk our way into the party, and it helped if you knew the password.
Upstairs the party really took off. Flinn Block Hall, was the perfect setting for a 1920’s soda fountain, where we could try egg creams or cherry phosphates and sample old-fashioned candy. Then we headed over to the photo booth, thankfully most of the guests were dressed to the nines, you might have mistaken it for a dress rehearsal of Guys and Dolls.
I went for the American singer who went to Shanghai to launch her career and just got back, look. I told the doorman “I just got off the boat, and the guys on the dock said a doll like me could find a little action here. So why don’t you open up that oyster (the secret password) and let me in.”
After Karen read a couple of excerpts from her book, we could learn a few steps of the dance craze of the time, the Charleston. My little bug, pretty much stole the show dancing her heart out.
It was an excellent way for Karen to launch her career as a novelist and to celebrate the publishing of Mistaken with her friends and family.