July 13, 2018 – Oh my goodness! What happened to 2018? For me, two big things–rewrites and a site research trip.
I just noticed in my stats that someone had clicked on this “News Briefs” site, which I hadn’t visited in a while, and I wondered when I last posted on it. Embarrassing to see it was last year before Christmas. Sheesh!
So here’s my brief update. I spent the first several months rewriting the three books of my first trilogy, which is set in early Greece, then planning a trip to research sites in Europe for the two related trilogies. Now I’m home and am writing a series of blog posts dubbed “Going There,” describing the journey of discovery. A Table of Contents on the sidebar will help you navigate the posts if you want to jump around.
Oh! And one more thing. In April this year Martha’s farm reached the 150-year point in one family so the Century Farm named for her now qualifies as a Sesquicentennial Farm. The story is here.
December 2, 2017 – Strings of light, garlands of green, turkey, cranberry sauce. It must be the time for the holidays. I just returned from a Thanksgiving visit with my daughter Christiane and granddaughter Calliope in Kansas City and got swept into Christmas events. First came the annual Christmas Fair at the Douglas County Fairgrounds where I joined fellow members of the local writers group in a booth to sell our books. Next I took my books out to Oakland for sale in the all-new Christmas store featuring local artists and crafters. The store will be open daily throughout December. I’ll be there on Thursday afternoons beginning December 7 and look forward to the holiday atmosphere in this historic town.
SUMMER INTO FALL
September 13, 2017 – A little rain last week changed the air, easing the heat and giving a hint of fall. With the Douglas County Fair and Fort Umpqua Days behind us, I’m looking ahead to a couple of September events on the Oregon coast–a speaking engagement with the Coast Branch of Willamette Writers at Newport on Sunday afternoon the 17th, and the Florence Festival of Books Saturday the 30th where I’ll be signing books. From there it’s another speaking engagement October 9 with the Roseburg writers group, AAW.
Thanks to Robin Loznak for the photos. That’s Fort Umpqua Days above and of course the Oregon coast on the right.
I’ve enjoyed the summer events and look forward to spending some time on the coast.
BIG JUNE NEWS
And our panel presentation went off very well at the Historical Novel Society Conference. Four Pacific Northwest writers including myself discussed “Historical Fiction through a Pacific Northwest Lens,” an appropriate subject, we thought, for a conference held this year in Portland, Oregon. On the panel with me were Janet Oakley, who came up with the idea, along with Kirby Larson and Libbie Hawker.
June 18, 2017 – Summer begins to look like a busy time in the book business.
First, I want to mention a couple of recent outstanding events. I spoke to the Cottage Grove Genealogical Society in May, a wonderful group. My thanks to Lynda Boone for setting that up. A good crowd came out for my talk and we had an excellent Q & A session. Then the society put on a lovely luncheon with salad bar and homemade rolls. Mm-m.
Then a week ago I had a speaking gig at the Eugene Public Library. Another good crowd on a rainy Saturday, and almost every member of my Eugene writing group came out as well. My thanks to Scott Herron for arranging that and thanks to my friendly group for being there. The group went out afterward to celebrate member Lynn Ash’s birthday–a lovely day.
Now I’m busy planning for a couple of conferences. I had already scheduled the Historical Novel Society Conference in Portland this month where I’m joining a panel on “Historical Fiction through a Pacific Northwest Lens.” But now that my book Shifting Winds is a finalist for the 2017 Nancy Pearl Book Award offered by the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, I think I’d better go to the PNWA conference in July too. That’s the conference at Seatac where I met my agent, Rita Rosenkranz, and she’ll be there again. Lots of excitement!
March 13, 2017 – The event list continues to change as more speaking engagements come along. There’s been a shift from the signings and readings to more speaking gigs. Some I requested. But I’m happy to say that more groups have been contacting me, asking me to talk about my books.
The year started with a January visit to the Cottage Grove Public Library, my old stomping grounds from when I lived nearby. We had a lovely audience there. I had looked forward to the February event up on the coast at Newport, but snow blocked my way to that talk with the Coast Branch of Willamette Writers. Good news! We have rescheduled the Newport talk for September 17. And we don’t expect snow.
Yesterday I spoke to the Douglas County Historical Society, another wonderful audience. For that one I had the privilege of being interviewed on KPIC TV for Donna Spicer’s “Spotlight on Douglas County.” That was fun.
Meanwhile I’m working on the new book and am well into the rough draft. Also, it’s trying to be spring. My daffodils finally arrived.
December 21, 2016 – The winter solstice is upon us, which means Christmas in a few days and just ten days left in 2016. The launch of my first novel, The Shifting Winds, was the year’s highlight for me. From that event to the Oregon Historical Society Holiday Cheer Party in Portland, the marketing has kept me busy.
A bit of excitement, looking ahead. Janet Oakley, Carole Dagg, and I submitted a proposal for a presentation at the upcoming Historical Novel Society Conference next June in Portland, and we were accepted. Also, I’m arranging more speaking engagements which will be included on my event page and sidebar as details are worked out.
Meanwhile, my muse has kept whispering in my ear, and I have filled many pages with notes for the next book, the third in a second trilogy, an offshoot of the Sands of Gold Trilogy set in Crete. The spinoff centers in ancient Ireland where the Cretan mariners have traveled, seeking a place of light and peace where the warriors have not come. The times are ancient, but the story resonates into our own time.
September 30, 2016 – The month brought a whirl of activity from the good times of Fort Umpqua Days in the beginning to the scare of wildfire encroaching on Martha’s farm. The fire came within a mile of the farm, too close, and the bravery of local firefighters was much appreciated.
Next came the rollicking fun of Oakland’s Living History Days before heading to the coast for the Florence Festival of Books. Once the sun set on Florence and I got my clam chowder I returned home to get ready for October.
Events so far scheduled in October include a presentation back at the coast in Coos Bay at the public library on the 6th. Then it’s Bloomsbury Books on the 10th for a reading and signing, and the Book Nest Author Lunch in Springfield the 20th. The Book Nest has moved to the Gateway Mall and the format will change to multiple authors. That should add to the fun of conversation with book lovers over a fine meal, chatting about books and the subjects they explore.
After that I pivoted to filling out the fall schedule. So far in September events are set for Fort Umpqua Days in Elkton on the 3rd and 4th, Oakland Living History Day the 17th, and Florence Festival the 24th. An exciting lineup. Add to that a meeting with my fabulous small group of Lane County writers on the 10th. Yay! Update: The Bloomsbury Books event has been rescheduled to October 10.
But before September there’s the Douglas County Fair in Roseburg August 10 to 13. I’ll be there all four days from 3 to 7 at the Author Table in the Community Conference Hall–in air-conditioned comfort. Douglas County has a great fair and my Roseburg writers group will be at the table too. Always a good time.
July 8, 2016 – What happened to June? Seems like it just started and zip it was over. I had some lovely readings during June, which I covered on my blog, and my muse has been working on me with another book. My Kansas City family came to see me. My granddaughter Calliope is off to camp, and her mom is working in my garage/studio on her latest animated feature.
Now it’s July already. Today I joined my writer friend Lynn Ash at the Sutherlin Street Fair where we shared a booth to sell and sign our books. Across the street from the line of booths was a line of old cars from far and near. The one in the photo at right parked directly across from us. I just had to take a picture of the beauty. Had a few sprinkles that almost turned to rain about the time we had to tear down the canopy.
My big July event at Fort Vancouver is a week from tomorrow. I’m ordering better weather for that one because the plan is for a tour of the fort after my talk and book signing at the Visitor Center. Check out my series over on the main blog giving some background history for my book The Shifting Winds, and the part Fort Vancouver plays in it.
MAY LOOKING FORWARD
As we approach the end-of-May Memorial Day weekend, it’s time to start looking forward to summer events. Since the Friday Art Walk event at The Bookmine in April didn’t really allow for a sit-down reading, the proprietor Gail suggested we do a regular signing and reading event on another date, so we just scheduled that for next month, June 23 from 5 to 7, a Thursday evening. More on that later. It’s always a pleasure to be at The Bookmine.
My friend A. Lynn Ash and I also scheduled a signing together at the Sutherlin Street Fair July 8, and the Douglas County Fair in August.
Next up for me is the Mid-Valley Author Celebration at Tsunami Books June 2 when I’ll join four other members to read from our published work. I’ll be reading from The Shifting Winds.
April 30, 2016 – April started with a signing and reading event at the Books Gallery in Sutherlin, at right, and ended last night with a signing at The Bookmine in Cottage Grove during the first-of-the-season Friday Art Walk in Cottage Grove. Despite a rainy evening for the art walk, a good number trailed through the store and quite a few paused to buy a book and chat.
A highlight of the month was the signing and reading at Tsunami Books in Eugene, always a great venue. Almost everyone from my special Eugene writers group came for that, as well as other wonderful friends. Kris Jensen from the group is getting her book signed, at left.
Meanwhile I’m adding upcoming events. I’ll get more of those on the sidebar and “Events” page when dates and times are confirmed.
I was excited to see my July 16 event at Fort Vancouver posted on their website. That makes it feel quite official, with the National Park Service seal and all. The reconstructed fort is a National Historic Site maintained by the National Park Service. The Shifting Winds has several scenes at the fort, so it’s a natural for the book. I’m delighted they’re hosting me.
SHIFTING WINDS HAS LAUNCHED
March 8, 2016 – My new book, The Shifting Winds, had a great launch Sunday afternoon in Elkton, Oregon. So many friends came out, and we had Elkton wine and wine with an Elkton connection, provided by grape grower Jim Wood, and guitar music provided by music teacher Andrew Arriaga. A lovely crowd to help send this book out into the world. More on the story in yesterday’s blog post.
UPDATE: March continued with wonderful events in Roseburg at the Douglas County Museum and in Portland at Annie Bloom’s Books. While in Portland I visited Fort Vancouver across the river and confirmed my summer event at that remarkable site.
I’m busy getting the word out on all the upcoming events, four now–Elkton, Roseburg, Portland, Eugene. Fun!
BOOK LAUNCH TIME
February 10, 2016 – With The Shifting Winds coming out in less than a month, my focus has turned to the launch. As noted in my most recent blog post, several boxes of books have already arrived on my doorstep. That’s when it feels real. It’s an actual book, and it’s beautiful! On Monday I was the speaker for my Roseburg writing group and focused my talk on the upcoming book. A big thank you to my group for being such a receptive audience and for all their support!
Now I’m scheduling events and making contact lists. The first launch party is set for Sunday afternoon, March 6, at ECEC in Elkton from 2 to 4 pm (shown at left), then a signing and reading party at the Douglas County Museum Thursday, March 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm (shown at right).
And I just scheduled a signing and reading at Annie Bloom’s Books in Portland for Tuesday, March 15, from 7 to 8 pm (shown at left), a great bookstore that was just up the street from me when I lived in Portland.
I’m looking forward to these events when I can meet readers and share my book with them. I hope to continue adding events in the coming days. You can find them listed on the right-hand sidebar on my blog pages or by clicking on the Events page where you can see not only where I’ll be but where I’ve been.
November 19, 2015 – The month has brought a couple of enjoyable events, starting with a trunk show at Roseburg Book and Stationery on Jackson Street in downtown Roseburg. And today I spoke at the Douglas County Genealogical Society, an organization that was particularly helpful in the research for A Place of Her Own. Then the holidays begin. And a new book is beginning to take shape.
October 13, 2015 – As predicted, the writing kept me occupied for much of the spring. But during that time I also enjoyed a number of book club visits, which I don’t list with my events because they’re private gatherings, most often held in someone’s home. I do love book clubs. It’s so rewarding to a writer to be able to sit down with readers who have already read your book. And they usually liked the book a lot or they wouldn’t have invited you to come talk about it. Oh yes! We do need that affirmation once in a while.
Meanwhile, my new book, The Shifting Winds, has been progressing through the production process. With summer came a first glimpse of the cover copy, shown at right. Then I received the copyedited version and had to check through that, then the final pages for proofreading when you see how the pages will actually look, and most recently, back jacket copy. Love it!
I also went on a summer reading binge, mostly reading books I collected at the PNBA Trade Show last fall, where writers happily passed out free books. I gathered an eclectic assortment and thoroughly enjoyed them. It’s surprising how many books provided useful inspiration for upcoming projects, even when they’re completely different from what I do.
Signing events picked up again with the Douglas County Fair and my hometown’s Fort Umpqua Days, both great venues for me.
I chose just one conference this year, the Women Writing the West conference, which was so close this time in Redmond, Oregon. And when several friends from my Eugene writing group opted for that one, it became a sure thing. As noted in my last blog post, we had a great time.
THE WRITING LIFE
April 13, 2015 – My muse has brought me back to the essence of the writer’s life–writing. Since mid-December I have been caught up in a new story, which finally came together early this month with completion of the rough draft for the fourth book in my series set in Minoan Crete. It’s always a happy feeling, after weeks of work on the computer, to have a solid manuscript I can hold in my hands.
Not long after that draft was done, my agent Rita Rosenkranz closed a deal for me on another book, a historical novel tentatively called The Shifting Winds, set in the same Oregon pioneer era as my first book, A Place of Her Own. Same editor. Same publisher. More about that on my blog page.
I have one more in the works for this year and will be back to writing for another month or so. Then of course there’s the polishing. I enjoy that as well. That’s when wordsmithing reaches a higher level as an art form, and I love the play of words.
So if you don’t see any new news here for a while, I’m probably in another world of story.
SIGNINGS FOR THE HOLIDAYS
On the same weekend I joined members of An Association of Writers in Roseburg at the Christmas Craft Fair at the fairgrounds, where we had a booth for selling our books. I signed books there Friday, drove to Portland Saturday, attended the Holiday Cheer Party Sunday, and drove home Monday. Busy weekend. But I thoroughly enjoyed the events. Many people were out looking for Christmas gifts, and books do make great gifts for avid readers.
October 31, 2014 – It’s Halloween and folks are starting to look toward the holidays. I just received an invitation today to join other area authors for the 2014 Holiday Cheer at the Oregon Historical Society in Portland, where I’ll be signing copies of my book, A Place of Her Own: The Legacy of Oregon Pioneer Martha Poindexter Maupin. This story of my great-great-grandmother, a local history set in the mid-1900s, fits well with the Pacific Northwest event scheduled for Sunday, December 7, from noon to 4.
Even closer to home, I’ve been invited to join three other Oregon authors for the Literary Salon at the Opal Center for Arts and Education in Cottage Grove Saturday, November 15, at 3 pm, co-sponsored by The Bookmine. We’ll talk about our inspiration and techniques in telling our stories, then sign books.
I’m also scheduled to spend a few hours at the Christmas Craft Fair at the Douglas County Fairgrounds on Friday, December 7. I’ll pin those hours down soon and post them on my “Events” lists. Books do make great Christmas gifts. 🙂
October 11, 2014 – We have harvested our prunes, which have been the main crop on our farm since Martha’s son Cap planted the first orchard in 1895. We have an ancient commercial prune dryer on the property, and we did run that a few years after my dad died. Then the price of oil soared, and it just wasn’t viable anymore. Now we send them to Lewis Farms in Forest Grove to be dried, and they send dried ones back so we can accommodate our local customers. That makes for a much easier harvest for us.
SEPTEMBER STILL EVENTFUL
September 18, 2014 – Events have kept me busy in September, starting with a signing at J. Michaels Books in Eugene on First Friday. The photo at right shows Emma at J. Michaels keeping watch at the signing table. Next up, my cousin Carolyn and I drove to Ashland for a reading and signing at Bloomsbury Books on the 15th, with another signing and reading scheduled at Kalapuya Books in Cottage Grove on the 20th during the annual Covered Bridge Festival.
Meanwhile, I visited two wonderful Book Clubs during the month.
September will close out with the PNBA Fall Tradeshow in Tacoma the last weekend, where I’ll have the honor of being a featured author.
In the virtual world, I started my blog series, “Backtracking the Oregon Trail,” and continue having fun with the “Portraits of a Century Farm” series. Look for the Oregon Trail posts about once a week. The other happens when inspiration hits.
FORT UMPQUA DAYS ~ DAY ONE
A surprise rain shower had us all moving back to the centers of our canopies to keep dry, but it soon passed. Tomorrow should be clear and a tad warmer.
First night of the pageant went well. I didn’t get down to the fort but I heard that was a busy place. The kids didn’t let a little rain slow them down for all the activities there.
IN THEIR SHOES
August 26, 2014 – The latter half of August became a time of stepping back into history and walking in the shoes of our intrepid pioneer ancestors. I traveled with my daughter Christiane and granddaughter Calliope to Kansas City where Christiane started a new teaching job. So we decided to backtrack over Martha’s footsteps along the Oregon Trail.
Watch for the wagon. I’ll be presenting a new category on my blog in the coming weeks, with a series of posts describing our journey and comparing it to the journeys Martha and other pioneers made. Watch for announcements with the photo of the wagon, which will also lead the first post.
Other August events take us back in time as well, with the appearance of my cousin, Civil War reenactor Robbie Maupin, at a reading event in historic Lexington, Missouri.He and his fellow reenactors came in full Civil War era dress and created quite a delightful spectacle.
The month will close out with Fort Umpqua Days back home, commemorating the Hudson’s Bay Company fort which stood near Elkton during the days of Martha’s long trek west.
August 6, 2014 – August started with a great writers conference in Portland. I had the pleasure of meeting bestselling author and keynote speaker Diana Gabaldon, who made an unexpected swing by my table at a pre-dinner gathering. I noticed someone at my side and looked up. “Oh! You’re Diana Gabaldon,” I said. She smiled. “Yes, I am,” and chatted with us for a while. Very friendly.
Before I left Portland I stopped by the big Barnes & Noble in Tigard where I’d heard my books were nicely displayed and there they were. Fun! I happily signed the stack of books they had in stock.
Next up, the Douglas County Fair. We have a great fair in the county, and I look forward to being there every afternoon from 3 to 7 at the Author Table in the Community Conference Hall selling and signing books.
August 4, 2014 – July meant travel with only one book event close to home. That was the signing and reading at The Bookmine in Cottage Grove on the 11th. From there it was the PNWA Conference in Seattle to the Book Festival in Portland.
Another highlight of the month was a big story in Roseburg’s News-Review by Garrett Andrews, with photo by Michael Sullivan, which came out on the 16th. Thanks to Garrett and Michael for that. Nice to see this great writeup in the hometown paper.
THIS AND THAT
The colored photos were taken on the family farm by Robin Loznak. That’s me in front of the old barn, same shot as the medallion on the book cover. The old photos are from my personal collection. The wedding photo is of my grandparents, Roy and Jennie Fisher. The lady in the oval is my great-grandmother Mary Maupin Fisher.
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It’s raining! And the thirsty land on Martha’s farm is happily soaking it up.
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The King County Library–that’s Seattle’s county in Washington–has four copies of A Place of Her Own. Every one of the four copies is out, with three holds. 🙂
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Paddyfield.com, Hong Kong’s online bookseller, has it listed.
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My date as author for the Book Nest “Lunch With an Author” in Springfield, Oregon, has been rescheduled. We’re now set for October 2.
FIRST JULY EVENT
July 12, 2014 – My first July event for A Place of Her Own brought a lovely group of people together in a delightful setting, The Bookmine on Cottage Grove’s historic Main Street downtown. Proprietor Gail served delicious refreshments. Several cousins came. Gary and Joan, second cousins I never knew, heard about me from the Register-Guard story and came to get books and to meet me.
And Juanita, a fourth cousin, came. She’d already contacted me after seeing the article.
Everyone seemed to enjoy the event. I certainly did.
I’ll have two more events in July, the PNWA conference in Seattle next week and the Northwest Book Festival in Portland on the 26th.
After Elkton, I joined seven other members of Willamette Writers for a reading at the group’s June meeting. Then came more events, a signing and reading at While Away Books in Roseburg, a signing in Reedsport, signing and reading at Books Gallery in Sutherlin, the signing with a reading set to music at Tsunami Books in Eugene, a signing and reading at Annie Bloom’s Books in Portland, and back to V.W. Books in Roseburg.
In addition to the signings and readings, I had speaking engagements at the AAW writers group in Roseburg and the Roseburg Rotary Club. I was a guest on KQEN radio in Roseburg and had a segment from Martha’s story on Jefferson Public Radio’s “As It Was” program.
A highlight for the book was the big story in The Register-Guard on Sunday, the 29th, by Randi Bjornstad, with pictures by Paul Carter.
Cheers to Martha for a great month!
TRAIL OF EVENTS
June 25, 2014 – Had a great time at the Tsunami event last Saturday. Nate, who works there, gave it two thumbs up. Don and Patty did a super job with the music, and folks seemed to enjoy the reading set to music that we did.
Moving along, I’m headed to Portland tomorrow, Thursday, June 26, for the 7 pm event at Annie Bloom’s Books in Multnomah Village, near where I used to live. Then back south to Roseburg on Sunday, the 29th, for a signing at V.W.Books, from 2 to 4.
That rounds out a whirlwind of activity for June, which started on the 1st with the launch at ECEC. A great month.
ROTARY LAST NIGHT ~ TSUNAMI AND MUSIC SATURDAY
Here, my cousin Don Fisher on trumpet, and friend Patty Wilgus on piano, put in a little practice for the Tsunami event. They’ll play background music during the signing. Then for the reading we plan something a little different–a reading set to music. They’ll play a few bars. Then I read. Back and forth. For more on that, see the main blog page.
IN THE BOOK GALLERY WINDOW
This was my third signing and reading event near home. Next week I head out of Douglas County for my first Eugene event. The following week takes me to Portland, then back to Douglas County June 29 for a signing at V.W.Books in Roseburg.
June 13, 2014 – My next book signing happens tomorrow at the delightful Books Gallery in Sutherlin from 2 to 4 in the afternoon. I’ll be reading an all-new excerpt from A Place of Her Own.
Today I spent most of the day at the Umpqua County Farmers/Artisans Market in Reedsport near the coast. Got a little drizzle, but sold a few books and enjoyed some conversation.
MY FIRST SPEAKING GIG
June 9, 2014 – I had my first speaking engagement this morning at the regular meeting of the local AAW author’s group. I’m a member of the group, so it was a good chance to try my wings with a friendly audience, most of whom I knew. It went well. I talked about the power of perseverance, and afterward, sold and signed a few books.
Emily Blakely took this picture for me with my little camera.
AUNT ATTENDS ROSEBURG SIGNING
June 9, 2014 – A good turnout came to my Roseburg book launch, even my 92-year-old aunt Elizabeth. She said it isn’t easy for her to get out anymore but she was determined to attend this special event. I was so glad she could come. Other family and friends came by. Some pleasant surprises. Another good day.
Robin Loznak took the picture with my little Nikon camera.
CITY BOOK LAUNCH TOMORROW
June 6, 2014 – My Roseburg book launch happens tomorrow at While Away Books on Harvard, a pleasant venue. That’s June 7 from 1 to 3. We’ll have refreshments and a reading, something different than I’ve read before, in case you’ve been to another of my readings. It’s open to the public.
BOOK LAUNCH BRINGS CROWD
June 2, 2014 – A wonderful crowd came out to the book launch party in Elkton Sunday. The mood was upbeat, with pleasant strains of music drifting across the room, thanks to my grandson, Alex Loznak, at the keyboard. My immediate family helped–with daughter Christiane taking care of the table, and daughter Carisa handling sales, while her husband, Robin, took pictures. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, visiting and signing, reading and sharing a lively Q&A session.
Photo by Robin Loznak
FIRST BOOK LAUNCH TOMORROW
We’ll have music and refreshments along with a reading and books to sign, and plenty of time for conversation. The event is open to the public.
TWO NEW EVENTS SCHEDULED
May 21, 2014 – I’m happy to announce two new events. I was invited by Sonny Hedden, another descendant of Oregon pioneers, to sign books at the Umpqua County Farmers/Artisans Market in Reedsport, Oregon, on Friday, June 13. Thank you, Sonny. It’ll be pretty much of an all-day affair from 9:30 am until 3 pm. I hope good weather shines on us. If not, Sonny promises there’s plenty of cover. Reedsport’s a short hop from the beautiful Oregon coast.
Then on Friday, July 11, from 5-7 pm I’ll be at The Bookmine in Cottage Grove for a signing and reading. A great little store with books and plants and gift items. I always enjoyed shopping there when I lived in Cottage Grove.
BOOKS ARRIVING SOONER THAN EXPECTED
May 10, 2014 – Globe Pequot Press is shipping copies of A Place of Her Own ahead of the June 3 release date. Several cartons of books arrived at my home last week, and Amazon has changed their June 3 date to announce, “In stock but may require an extra 1-2 days to process.” Several people who bought A Place of Her Own from Amazon have received notice that their purchases will arrive in mid-May. Sources at Globe Pequot Press confirm shipments are in the process of going out now. Happy reading, everybody!