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I am just going to jump right in, no warm-up or catch-phrase. I did not expect the huge turnout for my soft signing! Why do I use the term soft signing, you ask? Just like new stores and new restaurants have a soft opening before the real-deal to work out the kinks and bugs, I had a soft signing.

I scheduled a debut book signing for September 12, 2020. I chose that Saturday because it is my parent's wedding anniversary. Even though they are no longer with us, doing it on that day would have felt like they were, making the event all the more special. After I announced it on Facebook, and handed out flyers, there was an outbreak of Covid in our surrounding area. So, I cancelled the event thinking no one would want to come.

But then my brain got to thinking, which is always dangerous. I was afraid not everyone who saw the post or flyers would know I had cancelled it. So, I made plans to just stick around the house in case someone showed up. Then, I decided to see if Laurie and Lisa, my very talented illustrators wanted to come up and pre-sign a bunch of books for me to have on hand while we waited for probably no one to show up. They thought that was a great idea.

Now, I had myself and the artists, so I decided I would repost the event on social media. Since the word was back out, I might as well put signs up at the two intersections leading to our house. The signing was advertised for 1pm-4pm. With the help of my family, I began setting up at 8am. Canopy, chairs, tables, printer, payment methods devices checked, backing packing props, photo collages, and social distancing signs, cones, and arrows were all displayed with thought. All the while, I reassured my family I didn't expect anyone to show up. I thought one person would be here.

Surprise. Surprise. Surprise. 11:30am-ish rolled around when a car pulled in. It felt like a rainforest filled with Monarch butterflies simultaneously took to flight in my stomach. We were far from ready, but when the passenger in the vehicle asked if she could stop even though it was early, how could I say no? "Absolutely you may! Come right over!" I might have been a tad animated. I get excited easily.

Soon after, another early bird showed up. Then the girls arrived and now it really seemed so real.

Lisa Joy Jones (left) and Laurie Joy Miller (right) the illustrators for Black Bear's Adventure.

I can't say we had a stampede and or long lines chomping at the bit to grab their copy, but it was steady, one or two customers at a time. In between customers, we tried to sign books that I pre-sold before the event, but it wasn't enough time to do so. As one customer left another one arrived shortly after. The pace was perfect. It gave us time to talk to everyone and answer questions, so we signed the pre-sold books at the end.

When my friend Desirae came with her family, there was a line. The kiddos were so adorable waiting patiently with their book they had purchased on Amazon.

The event started with an early bird and ended in overtime with my neighbor Patty who works at the University of Maine in public relations. Patty, a UMaine alumna was so thrilled to learn that Lisa, Laurie, and myself were also alumnae. We are all 1989 and 1990 graduates. She said she would write up an article for the Maine Alumni magazine. How cool is that!

Needless to say, I was blown away by the interest in this cute little biographical story of my AT thru hike. Especially with the on-off and then back on of the event. Between my pre-sales and sales at the event, I sold out of the companion books. Thankfully I have another order already on it's way. I wasn't sure how the companion book would go over, so I didn't order as many as the story book. But I was wrong, almost everyone wants both.

If Saturday's soft book signing wasn't thrilling enough, yesterday I made my first wholesale sale to a store, one of my favorite little gift shops, a hidden treasure in the Maine woods, The North Woods Trading Post. It is located on the Baxter State Park Road in T1 R8 (Township 1 Region 8) just outside of Millinocket and the last stop for any amenities before Baxter State Park. So the next time you are in that area, be sure to stop in, you will be glad you did. And not just because my books are there. But that's a great reason too.

I love talking about the trail and my adventures on it. I know not everyone can get out and enjoy Mother Nature, so I am thrilled to be able to share my experiences in whatever way I can. Whatever I may have to offer though, pales in comparison to what all of you, my supporters have done for me.

Thank you and as always, Happy Hiking



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