The essence of the Ride Series by Edie Hand and co-author Jeffery Addison became an example in more ways than one during Edie Hand’s book signing tour to Florida. “Each novel is built around the image of each of our lives as an adventurous ride,” says Hand. “Along the way we face rough patches, uphill climbs, and bends in the road that reveal unexpected events and barriers that seem insurmountable. However, through faith, friends, and family we are able to overcome those obstacles and continue our wondrous journey through life.”
As a three time cancer survivor, Edie knows what she is talking about. Edie began her signing tour in August promoting the release of The Genuine Elvis, (her first cousin) by Edie, Ronnie McDowell and Joe Meador. In September our Ride books, The Soldier’s Ride, and A Christmas Ride were released. It is a daunting task promoting one book, but three can be overwhelming.
As publisher of the latest of Edie and Jeffery’s Ride Series novellas, I had agreed early on to set up the Florida tour and chauffer Edie on the Florida portion of her extensive tour which encompassed most of the Eastern United States. I had grown up in South Florida and lived most of my adult life in the Ft. Lauderdale area so had enough contacts to do it right. Both the book launch in Ft. Lauderdale at Borders on the Intracoastal Waterway, and the Wine and Cheese Reception following were well attended. Edie inspired her audience with wit and grace and readings from each book. Many books were sold. We had planned ahead for press and Edie was interviewed during prime drive time on the radio the day before. We followed the same course in all the cities she was to sign in by sending out advance press releases and contacting T.V. and radio media.
The signing in Merritt Island went very well. The Books-A-Million located in a mall on Merritt Island Causeway, was very busy. They were having an early Black Friday sale, the weekend before Thanksgiving. In Orlando, we ran into a minor glitch. We arrived to find the Community Relations Manager (CRM) had to move Edie from his regular signing spot because they were making accommodations for Sarah Palin who was signing the next evening. This particular Barnes and Noble on Colonial Drive hosted Glenn Beck 2 days before and Mike Huckabee the week before. The Barnes andNoble CRM, Geoffery Shoffstall, is incredible. He promoted Edie as avidly as all the big name authors, and he gave her a front and center spot in the store which served us well. He told me several times that he was thrilled with the way Edie engaged people during her signings and he asked her to come back in the spring upon the release of her next book Women of True Grit
, (co-authored with Tina Savas). I have seen Edie in action on several occasions and agree that she is definitely a people magnet.
Some bumps in the road were developing that would affect our Florida Tour. They involved some good news and some bad happenings. It all started before Edie arrived in Ft. Lauderdale. She had intended to take a breather at home before starting on the Florida leg. She lost this opportunity when requests came to fly out to Los Angeles to discuss having our Ride books made into Lifetime movies (Good news). (Bad happening) Edie arrived back home with only 5 hours to sleep before departing to Florida on Friday morning, November 20th. It was the day after the Atlanta computer shut down and the airlines were still dealing with flight delays. She was due in at 3:20pm but did not arrive until after 7:30pm. Days of non stop travel had taken their toll and she was not in great shape. She was tired, but hungry, so we whizzed her off to a popular Italian restaurant on E. Sunrise Blvd., Il Mulinos. Our gracious hosts, the Scerbo’s, treated us to dinner then opened their beautiful home on the Intracoastal for our stay in Ft. Lauderdale and to host the Wine and Cheese Reception that followed Edie’s signing at the bookstore.
By Tuesday, we had worked our way to Tampa, and Edie was clearly not feeling well. She made it through the signing at the Barnes and Noble on South Dale Mabry Drive. Edie stayed that evening with a friend, and I with my daughter, who lives just north of Tampa. Early Wednesday morning Edie called to say she had called her doctor and he insisted she fly straight home. Unbeknownst to me she had started on a new heart medication that was slowing her heart rate and making her very tired. The doctor needed to assess the new medicine. I later found that he changed her medication and put her on bed rest for a few days. Edie bounced back quickly and started back on her tour, which ended mid December, and seems to be doing well now.
Edie’s departure was not to be the end of the bumpy ride for me. The Wednesday morning Edie flew home, I called from my daughter’s home to cancel the Naples and Sarasota book signings. The stores were gracious about the cancellations, and offered to host her again in the future. I sent them some signed book plates to use for their books and to encourage their sales of our books for Christmas gifts. On this day we were scheduled to work our way to my mother’s house as a base for the final signing events and to spend the following Thanksgiving-day with my family. In the meantime, I had not been feeling well either. My stomach was hurting. I chalked it up to stress and all the driving (1400 miles by then). After cancelling the subsequent signings, I drove at noon-time to south Tampa to visit my other daughter and later drove myself to Osprey just south of Sarasota to my Mom’s home. I arrived early evening, feeling worse. I made it through the next day at Mom’s, all the family was there for Thanksgiving. I was still having pain and a bit of nausea, but tried to ignore it and enjoy being with family. I managed to eat small amounts of Thanksgiving dinner, but had difficulty enjoying the food. After going to bed, I awoke about 2 in the morning. I was in pain and couldn’t get back to sleep. Finally I woke my Mom and asked her to drive me to the hospital. It turns out I had developed acute appendicitis. I had laparoscopic surgery later that day and was not released until late Saturday evening. I spent a few days recuperating at my Mom’s, thankful I had been there when it happened. My son, Greg, rearranged his busy schedule to make arrangements to drive me in my car as far as the Charlotte, NC airport so he could fly back to Orlando. Friends drove my husband, Walter, two and a half hours to the Charlotte airport so he could drive me home the rest of the way. I arrived home several days later than planned at about 7pm on Thursday evening, one week after Thanksgiving. After 14 days away, I had a ton of unpacking, and lots of publishing work to catch up on, still moving slowly, but soooo. glad to be home.
This trip brought home to me what Edie says about getting through the tough times with the help of family and friends. I have seen it first hand in the actions of my family and the emails of good will and offers of support from friends. To learn more about Edie Hand and the Ride books visit www.canterburyhousepublishing.com
By Wendy Dingwall, PublisherCanterbury House Publishing, Ltd.