“Our Lady of LaSalette Shrine, 2012”

This is my second year doing the book signing for “A Faithful Elf” at LaSalette. Every year brings a host of pleasant surprises. Last year was the first with my new book. As I told the story of how it was conceived and what it was about, I was talking to people who had never heard of it. Many took a chance on a new author and bought the book.

This year, the economy is worse. Things are tight and many have no idea what the next eighteen months, or more, might hold for them. I am thankful for everyone that took a chance and bought a copy this past weekend. LaSalette thanks you as well, as $5.00 from every book purchase went to the Shrine. Last year, the book brought in almost $700 to fund their youth ministry program.

As I stood there, for almost 26 hours over three days, I had another very nice surprise. People came back that had bought and read the book. Some told me that they were looking for me in particular to tell me how much they had loved it. One woman came back and bought another copy because she was going to Africa, and wanted a copy for her friend. She also left me with some great marketing ideas for the book.

One gentleman, who had spoken with me last year about his son’s passing, and the traumatic family issues that had resulted, also walked by. But he didn’t stop. Last year, after we shared the conversation, I had signed a copy and simply given it to him. I actually called him over. I asked him how the family situation was with his daughter-in-law and if he was now able to see his grand-children regularly. He just looked at me and said, “How could you possibly remember that?” I said, “How could I possibly have forgotten?”

The only online review that I have ever read was done on the Goodreads website. The man who wrote it came in to see me. He’s a fifth grade teacher and told me how much he enjoyed it. I was very happy to be able to thank him for that great five-star review and offered to speak to his kids about how you conceive of a story and then turn it into a book.

Of course, no LaSalette Christmas Bazaar would be complete without Jim and Sue Leatherwood of Leatherwood’s Crafts. Jim, a retired State Trooper, is not someone that can stay caged up for too long while he sells the wood products he makes by hand. Jim does the talking, Sue does the selling…perfect relationship. But this year was special for me, Jim brought his lathe and actually carved onsite. I got a chance to watch him for a few moments during breaks but was left feeling like I missed something. I could have watched for hours. It’s mesmerizing to watch the wood shavings just peel away from the tree parts. He was like a big Santa in the corner, carving away at his wood shop.

One person, who had bought a book on Friday night, came back Saturday afternoon with a big smile on her face. She wanted two more copies. “Are you enjoying it?” I asked. She smirked and said, “Let’s put it this way…I started it last night and I’m already on page sixty. And I’m not a reader. What does that tell you?”

I got a warm feeling inside. Something’s working. And that’s what Christmas is all about. Right?

A Faithful Elf Book Cover