Book Launch Day

It finally happened.

The Purple Door District officially launched on Saturday, December 15th, 2018, and it was spectacular.

If you had told me at the beginning of 2018 that I would decide to publish one of my books, I probably would have laughed. Over the course of six months, I started my own marketing campaign (with the help of other brilliant writers like Alexandra Penn and Brian K Morris), and began furiously editing my book. My social media realm exploded, and I delved into the world of being an indie author. There was joy, and there were tears, but it all came together on Saturday in a way I never could have imagined.

I started my day out at the North Liberty Community Library where I sat with five other lovely authors: Jolene Buchheit, Mary Chalupsky, Alexandra Penn, M.L. Williams, and Jo Salemink. The whole event was set up by Jenn Thompson and IABE. It was my very first time officially setting up my table, and it came out beautifully.

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I was delighted by a visit from my college professor, Glenn Freeman who has published a few poetry books of his own! All of the authors were incredibly supportive, and it gave me the courage to put on the event that night.

At the same time, my co-creator, AE Kellar, received a gift package in the mail full of swag and the book. And I got to see her joy and excitement as she tore into it and realized that the world we’d created over the course of 6 years had finally come to life for everyone to see.

I hosted the official book launch at The Makers’ Loft in downtown Iowa City. It seemed like the perfect location for selling, reading, eating, and meeting other incredible people. And the table just dazzled, especially surrounded by my friends.

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Throughout the night, people joined us for the celebration. I met new fans and welcomed fellow Writers’ Rooms writers and former professors with open arms. We even got to celebrate with a delicious cake that welcomed everyone to the District.

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After a great evening of selling books and talking to people, I actually held a reading. This was the first time I read my book in public, and I was so nervous. But everyone was supportive and receptive. I couldn’t have asked for a better audience.

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Most of all, I can’t thank my friend Desiree enough for being with me to set things up, take them down, and just help me through the nerves. She even dressed to match my table! It made me realize just how lucky I am to have this community in my life. With you all, I’m never really alone.

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I had hoped at least a handful of people would come to help me celebrate, but you all more than came through for me. Thank you for making this a night and experience to remember.

When I first started writing, I ached with loneliness. I didn’t know any other writers and I didn’t really have many people to share my craft with who understood what I was trying to do. I was the oddball, and all I wanted was someone who got me and shared my passion.

I’ve found that literary family in Iowa City. The passion and excitement for writing is intoxicating and infectious. I felt it first through Cornell’s English Department, and then the Iowa Writers’ House, and now through The Writers’ Rooms. We all come from varied backgrounds and have different stories to tell, but in the end, we’re all writers. We all need companionship and people who understand where we’re coming from.

That’s why The Purple Door District is so special to me. It’s all about community coming together, and that’s what my friends and fellow writers did for me. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for making me feel like I have a place to call home. Thank you for welcoming a scared kid hoping to be a writer into the world of being an adult author. I hope that I’ve been able to give as much support and love back to you as I received last night.

And it’s not over. The Purple Door District is the first of many books to come, and I can’t wait to see what happens next on this journey.

Happy writing to you all!

Erin

You can purchase The Purple Door District at:

Amazon in kindle and paper!

My website for a signed copy.

Prairie Lights in Iowa City

M and M Bookstore in Cedar Rapids

The Maker’s Loft in Iowa City

 

The Purple Door District: Behind the Scenes

The world of The Purple Door District started out as the stubborn brainchild of AE Kellar and myself. We have spent years writing together, researching, brainstorming, and developing characters and rules governing our parahumans and worlds. Our main series, Fates and Furies, is still in production but occurs in the same urban fantasy setting.

But let me backtrack a little.

AE Kellar and I met each other on a Redwall roleplaying site when I was still in high school. We had a mutual interest in the book series by Brian Jacques, obviously, and the forums gave us the opportunity to create our own characters, be they cat in AE’s case, or a silver-striped red squirrel named SilverRose Brighteye. Some of you may recognize my NaNo name.

For those unfamiliar with roleplaying on forums, basically one person writes out a few paragraphs of a scene with their character, someone responds, and the two people (or more) write back and forth to create an adventure. Redwall provided the world for us; we just had to worry about the characters and plot.

We wrote together for years, developing characters and immersing ourselves in the world. Eventually, we sought after a change and started roleplaying on an urban fantasy website that has long since closed. That’s when we realized that we might have found our niche. We took our characters, built a world, and ran with it, rping back and forth most nights. We’d alternate taking point on a plotline and naturally switch to the next person.

Unless we both brainfarted, in which case we just started up a new plotline.

Years of writing produced thousands of pages of writing (I’m not joking, AE took a picture of the pile of paper). Eventually, we realized we wanted to do something with it, and thus Fates and Furies was born. But in order to fully create the series, we had to know more about our world.

When we started to design the District, I latched onto it and suddenly had ideas blossoming in my head about creating one in Chicago (I grew up around the area). Plus, as a birdmom of seven feathered kids, it gave me the chance to professionally write about a werebird, even if I still get the side eye. With AE’s blessing, I wrote The Purple Door District to introduce you to our insanity.

But what about the PDD struck a chord in me? It was the community. I loved this idea that people of different talents, appearances, and strengths could come together to protect one another. A lot of urban/paranormal fantasies focus on the battle between werewolves and vampires or different magical groups. It was nice to think that there was a neutral ground where everyone could get along under the direction of The Violet Marshall. With the way the country is going today, I felt it was important to show that it’s possible for a mixing pot of people to actually come together peacefully. I chose Chicago specifically because I knew I could create a diverse cast. Even more characters will appear in The Purple Door District Book 2.

Community plays a huge role in my life. I help bring writers together through The Writers’ Rooms, a non-profit corporation that focuses on providing a free, safe environment for writers no matter their background, income, experience, gender, etc. And I work with The Iowa Writers’ House which also supports writers through workshops, lectures, and bicultural fellowship. In the writing world, I firmly believe that the only way we can succeed is if we support one another. Rising Tide, as Brian K Morris calls it.

Even through the book production, I reached out to the community for help. I asked Oni Algarra and Gabriella Bujdoso to create art for the book, indie artists who post on deviantart and instagram respectively. My cover artist is a Fiverr creator named Les. Sara Cunningham used her marketing magic to create sand jars and postcards for my book. Amanda Bouma taught me how to make jewelry so I could develop Bianca’s necklace. Leona Bushman, a fellow urban fantasy writer, guided me through editing my book and polishing it for publication. Alexandra Penn helped me format the book and was one of my main supporters who gave me the courage to publish the book. And my wonderful proofreaders, Shakyra Dunn and AE made sure the book was ready to go. I couldn’t have done this without my community, and I’m excited to support them just as they supported me. That’s partially why I created the Indiegogo campaign. I wanted to help give back to them.

As of November 5th, The Purple Door District is available for pre-order on amazon. There are no words I can use to convey my pride, joy, and hint of terror at having my book out there (I think I used up all my words in the manuscript haha). I do know that, had it not been for AE, I never would have been able to create such an immersive world.

We jokingly say that AE is the brain and I’m the heart, but I think it’s very true. While AE fills our books with well-researched facts and logic, I add feeling, creativity, and literary flare. I couldn’t have done it without my walking encyclopedia. All you see in The Purple Door District exists because of our love for storytelling and our incessant need to get fewer than 8 hours of sleep a night.

Keep an eye out. Fates and Furies is on the horizon.

And thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for all of your support during this crazy and amazing journey.

Welcome to the District.