November 09, 2009

The Generosity of Cozy Authors Posted by Lorraine Bartlett -- also known as Lorna Barrett Last week I sent out my quarterly newsletter. In it, I offered a large print edition of my first Booktown Mystery, MURDER IS BINDING. (My editor's assistant had been tidying the office and found an extra copy--so I figured, why not give it away?) The catch? Readers had to tell me (in 50 words or less) why they wanted/needed a large-print edition of the book. Whoa, was I unprepared for the onslaught of requests. Some of them were downright silly ("I just turned 40 and I don't want to wear reading glasses to read for pleasure") while some were heartbreaking ("I have terminal cancer. . .") I never said this was going to be a "picked from the hat" contest, as I really wanted the book to go to someone who needed it--not for some frivolous reason, so it was a no brainer to divide the requests into two piles: "Worthy" and "Better Luck Next Contest." And I could have just chosen one name from the worthy pile and sent them the book. But I wanted to do more than that. So I asked a bunch of my friends, also cozy mystery authors, if they could help me out and donate one of their books. Let's pause for a moment and think about what an utterly outrageous request this really was. These were MY readers and MY contest, and I was asking my pals to part with a $25 book. We don't get cases of these books. We're lucky to get two copies of the large-print editions of our books, and more often we only get one. What would they get out of helping me out? I'll tell you what, the satisfaction of doing something nice. There are a lot of nice people out there, doing good for a lot of people, but they rarely get thanked for it in a public forum. That's why I want to SHOUT OUT LOUD about the generosity of my cozy author friends: JULIE HYZY LEANN SWEENEY DEB BAKER SHEILA CONNOLLY SARAH ATWELL (2 books!) Because of these friends, four more people, one small library, and a nursing home, will have a happier holiday. (Most of the requests came from unemployed people wanting to give books to their elders with vision problems.) I'm reminded of the ending of the movie "It's A Wonderful Life," where Clarence the angel gives George Bailey a copy of Tom Sawyer. In it he wrote: "George, no man is a failure who has friends." I think that goes for women, too.

Lorraine Bartlett

Five women, five weekdays, many surprises.

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