by Kathleen Ernst
I’ve mentioned here before that I often write in coffee shops. This post is about some nice and unexpected things that came my way because of that.
My favorite haunt is a local spot called the Prairie Cafe. The staff is nice, the food is good, and they make the best mocha lattes in town. There’s an outlet right next to the table in the quiet corner. All good stuff.
After my first Chloe mystery came out, several young women who work there told me they belonged to a book club. Would I be willing to meet with the group to discuss Old World Murder? Of course I said yes. Alisha, who manages the cafe, offered to host the gathering in the cafe, which is closed in the evening. It turned out to be a marvelous gathering. In addition to good conversation, the club members put out a pot luck to shame all pot lucks. They gave me flowers. I got a beautiful thank-you card, and even a gift certificate from the cafe (more mochas!).
I gave Alisha a copy of The Heirloom Murders when it was released. (The acknowledgments thank the Prairie Cafe staff for their hospitality). She and my husband Scott put their heads together and came up with a plan to display both of my books on a shelf beside the cash register. Pretty good exposure! I think we even sold a few.
Alisha is a professional baker. I like to work with friends whenever possible, so we asked her to bake the cake for the launch party for The Heirloom Murders. The party was last week, and she provided an amazing cake. In addition to creating the book itself, she created a hand cultivator, Swiss flag, and a chunk of green cheese from fondant. (That all actually makes sense if you read the book.) And she added a crystal to represent the legendary diamond at the heart of the plotline.
I know that writing in public places isn’t for everyone. Sometimes, though, you end up making new friends, selling a few books, and serving a cake that will, I hope, have my guests ready for more when the next book launch rolls around.