Tuesday, December 29, 2009

I need a break

I am trying to motivate myself to go to my book signing today in Murray from noon to six. I am tired, having spent about ten hours yesterday working on book three. I will be in Bountiful tomorrow during the same times.
I have noticed as I have been writing about Amy and her parents and the contention that swells around them, that I am emotionally disturbed by that contention. I am not sure if it hits too close to home, but as an eternal peacemaker, it goes against my nature. As I work through these things in my writing, I feel good when it is over, but when I am in the thick of it, I am on edge and cantankerous and nothing is right with the world. I suppose that is one reason I gave up TV a few years ago--I find myself living whatever I see--somehow the emotions of whatever it is translate into my real life in a negative way.
Case in point...this morning I am a little perterbed about a movie I took my kids too last night-Where the wild things are. I loved this book growing up, but this movie is a total flop from my point of view--no real story line, bad cinamatography, a movie dedicated to the bad behavior of children. It began poorly and ended poorly and I am glad I saw it at the dollar movie rather than paying full-price for it. I am sure it had to be an expensive movie to produce because they basically destroyed a whole island. Just a weird, lame movie. I feel sorry for the producers. They really could have done a much better job.
Listen to me be a movie critic! I've never really liked critics and suddenly i just became one. But I feel better and I think I can go sign books now and be okay. Happy New Year.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I couldn't let this day go by without giving a shout out to the folks that are reading my book and sharing it with their friends. On Thursday, yesterday, I plopped down my money to print the third printing of Remembering Isaac. I have sold out of the second printing. You can still find some in Costcos, but my distributor is out and back ordered three hundred copies. This is exciting. It is just beginning to hit me that I am an author. It seems so surreal. I have received lots of great emails in the last couple of days, thanking me for the books. It has been a lot of fun to read these--to hear how people are thinking, laughing, crying and wanting to live in Niederbipp. I love it. Tonight, I am tired after a long day of visits with family, but I am feeling like I need a visit to Niederbipp. Maybe I will stay up late and figure out what Jake and Amy have been trying to tell me all day. I also hope in the next few blog entries to begin telling my story. I am glad this the story of Niederbipp and Isaac are touching so many lives, but I never did this for the money. So far, I have spent the better part of $60,000 this year producing and printing the book. Because of the delays in getting paid, I wont see any return on that investment until mid-January. This delay has been a blessing--it has helped to solidify my feelings that I money was never my drive when I jumped into this project. Sure, I hope I don't lose money, but the message is what is important. It has been wonderful to hear from folks of all ages and stripes who are finding themselves in Niederbipp and never wanting to leave. Maybe our world needs more of this. Maybe our world is looking for the answers Niederbipp has to offer.
I want to get to Jake and Amy, so tonight I will just share a portion of my story. When I was in grade school, I remember believing I was born without talent. I was lousy at sports, I was only an average student. I had zero musical talent--even to the point of being asked by the music mom to mouth the words because I was always loud and never on key. I had very few friends my own age. My neighborhood was filled with folks that were mostly at least 60 years older than me, but it was a magical place. Many of these old folks had tools in their garages and cookies in their jars and time to sit on their front porches and tell me amazing stories of their younger years. As I read and re-read the stories of Niederbipp, I find myself reflecting on the village that it took to raise me. So many have had a hand in who I have become. Most of these folks are gone now. Margaret Torkelson, the 95 year old woman who my mother sent me to to practice my reading, passed away more than twenty-five years ago, but I can still remember the smell of her flowered couch and the color of her beehive doo. She gave me jumbo gum drops after each visit. I read to her all of the books that drove my mother crazy--most of which were by Dr. Suess.
I am grateful for those old folks who loved me like a grandson and always welcomed my visits, helped me fix my bike, lent me tools to use as I dug holes in other neighbor's yards-trying to get to China, filled my mind with fun stories and opened possibilities to me that I never could have imagined. It seems my imagination has no limits because they were never imposed on me in my youth. I never watched TV because it could never compete with the world outside. It still can't.
I will write more later.
If any of you have any questions about the book or about my story, this might be a fun forum for question and answers. Ask on--
Cheers, Ben

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Second Printing Of Volume One Sold Out!

I would have updated this blog earlier, but I have been busy with my open house here at my studio. Every other spare minute has been dedicated to getting Remembering Isaac ready for its third printing. I got a call from my distributor last week congratulating me. I didnt know what he was talking about, but he explained that he had sold out of his 4500 copies of the book and is back ordered 350 copies. I actually printed 5000 copies, but held onto about 500 to sell myself. I have only about 150 of those remaining. I will begin the process for the third printing today. One of my pottery clients purchased my book-first printing- this spring and brought it back to me last week with alot of minor changes. Apparently I dont know how to use a colon, semi colon or comma correctly. So, in the third printing, for all you english majors and nitpickers, the aforementioned tools of punctuation will be correct. We are also branding the cover with BOOK ONE so folks don't get confused which one comes first.
I am signing today in Orem at Costco. Tomorrow I will be in SAndy and on Christmas Eve, I will be at the Bountiful store. Come and see me and pick up book 2 if you havent already. Cheers and Merry Christmas. Ben

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Discovering Isaac should be in Costco!

By now, Discovering Isaac should be in all Utah Costco stores. I will be signing today, Dec 15th in Sandy and tomorrow at the Lehi Costco from noon to 6. I hope to see you there or if that doesent fit your schedule, you can find me at my studio this Saturday from 9-5 at 1150 E 800 S in Salt Lake. The studio will be stocked with mugs, bowls. platters, tiles and Lynnette's tasty victuals--as well as both books. Come on over. Ben

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Discovering Isaac Shows Up In Ogden Costco 4 Days Early!

Yep, that's right. It is officially in Costco, at least in the Ogden store. I signed several copies today for those who were anxious to get a head start. It was actually really fun to sign those. I have been watching for months as folks peruse the book aisle at Costco until they stumble upon an author they know. Then, without even reading the dust jacket, the pick up the book and put it in their carts. I have wondered what that would be like as I am accosting people, trying to talk them into a book by an uneducated potter who is no one in the literary world. Today I got my first glimpse of what that is really like to have someone recognize my name, my book, and pick it up simply because they loved the last one. I just had to write about that. I know it probably sounds silly for you, but I have to say it feels good.
Sarah Palin signed in the Salt Lake Costco yesterday. I signed in Murray. She has folks lined up for 30 hours to get a signed copy. I strolled in about noon and began my work of accosting innocent people who may or may not be looking for a book. I sold 81 books. I'm sure she sold hundreds, but one small difference is--I wrote my book all by myself! No ghost writers for me. Sure, I had a lot of inspiration, but I typed every one of them thar words with my own two index fingers.
Anyway, you are going to love Discovering Isaac. For some reason, even though both books retail for the same price, $19.99, Discovering Isaac is selling for $12.49 where Remembering Isaac is selling at Costco for $11.99. I had nothing to do with that. Costco set the price up at headquarters. Don't ask me why--I just write books and accost people.
I am up late firing a kiln for Saturday's Studio Open House here at my studio--1150 E 800 S in Salt Lake, just a block from East High School. The show runs from 9-5. I will have a studio full of pots, both books and some of Lynnette's finest treats. Come on over. Sarah Palin and her enterage are planning on camping out tonight to be first in line! Cheers

Monday, December 7, 2009

Costco Delays Debut of Discovering Isaac until Dec 14

Yep, that's right--not until the 14th. I spoke to my distributor today after receiving several phone calls from unhappy folks who went to Costco to find Discovering Isaac and discovered it was not available yet. I am sorry. The only explanation I have been given is that it is a busy Christmas season. I apologize to those of you who have been waiting. I am already getting feed back from those who have read the second one and they all tell me they liked the second one even more than the first.
My schedule for signing at Costco has changed a little. Several of the days I planned to sign have been cut.
This week I will be in in Bountiful on Tuesday, the 8th from noon to 6.
Wednesday the 9th at Murray fron noon to 6 and
Thursday the 10th at Ogden from noon to 6.
On Saturday I will be having my pottery open house at my studio at 1150 E 800 S in Salt Lake. I will post next weeks schedule as it is confirmed. Apparently, lots of other folks wanted to start doing book signings too and they are working their way into the stores and squeezing little guys like me out.
The Studio Open House was very well attended this weekend. Lots of folks came to pick up the second book as well as copies of the Remembering Isaac for gifts--All together I sold about 150 books on Saturday. Come on over on Saturday. I would love to see you. Ben