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SKYPE Book Club Summer Fun

Part of the BIG FUN of being a 21st CENTURY novelist is you can actually "visit" Book Clubs anywhere, everywhere, anytime, if they invite you. Seriously.

You either pick up the phone ("Call-in") or click on over via your computer with "Skype" and voila! THIS I DID NOT KNOW. Now if the wine didn't have to be virtual, too, I'd be even happier.

I've been having great fun this 1st summer of "Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale" doing both with a dozen or so book clubs across the country in New Jersey, Alabama, Ohio, Texas, and Tennessee who bought the hardback or the ebook, instead of waiting for the paperback, and asked me in on the discussion fun. A writer's gotta love that. And I have.

Thanks to all ya'll. Looking forward to more. Got a book club this fall? This sound like fun? I'd be honored. Check out the "For Book Clubs" webpage for contact info. (Here's what the St. Agnes Belles Lettres Book Club of Memphis sent me to show of the shindig they threw in honor of my little East Texas-set fable. )  Read More 
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PBS' Antiques RoadShow-Antique Inspiration for Novel

We read about such stories everyday: A comic book found at a garage sale is worth $48,000. An ugly lamp is an authentic Tiffany worth $100K. A cracked vase turns out to be a rare Egyptian urn somebody's grandfather swiped during World War I from North Africa.

If you've read Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, you'll know that antiques are actually characters themselves and play a pivotal part in the story that unfolds at a rich old woman's garage sale on the last day of the Millennium.

A rolltop, a dragoon, 44 Tiffany Lamps, an heirloom wedding ring, a museum-quality elephant clock...all are there for the buying. Cheap.

This is why we love Garage Sales and why we dream of being the next big find on PBS' Antiques Roadshow Episodes. Antiques Roadshow has made people clutch their hearts on spotlight episodes since 1995 and has become part of the nation's psyche. And I don't mind admitting that watching this show was one of the varied inspirations for Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale from your friends at Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam who brought you "The Help."

This episode about a Tiffany "fish" lamp worth $100,000 impressed me so much that a fish Tiffany found its way into my character Faith's Sale (where, by the way, the Tiffanys are going for a $1).

PBS' Antiques Roadshow Episode-TIFFANY FISH LAMP--$100,000 FIND.

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What if Antiques Could Talk?

I’ve come to believe writers don’t have ideas, ideas have writers. And the one that inspired my novel Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale occurred to me so long ago, it had to bide its time until I figured out what it wanted to say to me. You see, years ago, my mom, who still lived in our old two-story house full-to-busting with stuff that five kids left behind, began having garage sales. I found this out, living thousands of miles away by that time, when she called to tell me she’d sold, for a dime apiece, my long-forgotten stash of comic books yellowing in the back of one of her closets (My dad owned a drugstore; I had hundreds).

“Do you want the money? “ she asked.

“No, Mom, that’s ok,” I said, “keep it.”

But I felt suddenly, inexplicably sad. I remember laughing at myself, surprised by my feelings. Why was I so attached to those old things? Heaving a nostalgic sigh, I shrugged it off. Then, not a month after that, I heard the first Superman comic book sold for a million dollars, and I knew exactly what I was feeling: shock. And awe. And sadness that I didn’t own that comic book.

I was already watching PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow” series with the rest of the world, mesmerized by the spotlight sections–the “omigod” stories in which, garage-sale finds were treasures unaware. Or the stories revealing that Granny’s chamber pot, say, was worth a fortune, the grown grandchild admitting to using it as an ashtray, and the fun speculation of whether the family keepsake gets kept or sold. I began to think not just of an object’s value, but its history, its provenance—its own “life story” often consisting of dozens of lost human life stories. How objects live on after their owners vanish with the memories that made the objects valuable, and how poignant that was in such a human way.

And that’s when the ah-ha bolt of inspirational lightning struck. What if our antiques could talk? I glanced at my granny’s antique bookcase in my office.

“Hey,” I asked it, “what would you say?”

My spouse and my dog both looked at me askance, but since this sort of behavior from me was not all that unusual, they let it pass, although I think they both secretly paused to see if I got an answer. Later, I learned the bookshelf was not really my grandmother’s; it was my great-grandfather’s, a sheriff in the little Texas town in which my family lived for a century. And then I really wanted the bookcase to talk. Alas, it kept mum. But that long-ago garage sale idea gave me a poke: Garage Sales + Antiques = Hmmm. Are we possessed by our possessions? Or are we possessed by our memories of them? Or both? Glancing at my granny’s bookshelf, I realized it does talk to me in it own way, as all our most precious possessions do. Don’t they?

(***Guest Post on SheReads.org where Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale is this month's selection. CLICK HERE to read more and enter for a giveaway during May.  Read More 
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A Yard Sale of the Future: 2024

Check out this Yard Sale from 2024, as envisioned by Wired Magazine. Lean in and look closely...anybody need an old iPhone 8?

Wired Magazine's Found column:

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GOODREADS.com and LIBRARYTHING.com Galley Giveaway thru Feb. 29

BE the FIRST on your block to attend "Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale."

Are you a member of GOODREADS.COM or LIBRARY THING? Both of them are winding down their Galley Giveaway Countdown for Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale." My publisher has put 25 copies up for early grabs. All you have to do is enter. It closes Feb. 29. (And if you're not a member, maybe this is a good reason to join?) C'mon over and check it out ASAP. Because you know how the good stuff always goes first at garage sales:

GOODREADS.COM GALLEY GIVEWAY COUNTDOWN: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale  Read More 
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Batman Has a Garage Sale

Even Batman, it seems, sometimes has the urge to have a garage sale (as seen in this Funny or Die website video):

Batman Has a Garage Sale.
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Google Art Project & a Gilded Age Mansion Peek

Seen the latest Google feature called: Google Art Project?

If you're like me, and happen to be the type of museum-goer who inches near to see the paint globs up close and personal when the guard isn't looking, this site's for you. It's the next best thing to being there. You can zoom in closer than real life ever allows without face time with museum personnel.

My favorite: NYC's Frick Collection. Why?  Read More 
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WEEK LINK: The Blue Bookshop Door

Every old "thing" has a story, but this antique-of-a-whole-other kind has its story written all over it...

In 1925, a popular bookstore in Greenwich Village closed, but before it did, the place was a hangout for the bohemian crowd that included literary lights of all kinds--flames and flickers--and the owner asked the "usual suspects" to sign a narrow blue door at the back of the shop.

Along with icons such as Theodore Dreiser, John Dos Passos and Sherwood Anderson, the door records the "passage of forgotten poets, socialist pamphleteers, suffragists, Ziegfeld girls and multitasking oddballs," as the New York Times article put it. The door was removed by the manager and bought by the U. of Texas' famous Harry Ransom Center in 1960, after a dealer spotted an ad in the Saturday Review asking, “Want a door?” Where it was during all those years, who knows? But from 1960 to now, it had been forgotten until somebody stumbled across it in storage at the Center. You've got to love it. Everything has a story, even a blue door.

This week's New York Times Book Review section offered the article about The Blue Door from the 1920s as well as a slide show, both fascinating.  Read More 
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