Annette's blog

Hello…My name is Annette Drake

After driving more than 1700 miles, I stood in front of an audience of four and said those words. This was my first presentation about Celebration House and marketing genius that I am, I decided there was no better place to do this than Lexington, Missouri, where the book takes place. Thus the oh-so-long drive.

I hoped to have an audience of 10 people. The Lexington newspaper printed a small article about Celebration House. Sure, it was nearly word-for-word from the press release that the library gave them and it was on page 4. But, hey! I was in the Lexington News.

As the day approached, I tried to decrease my anxiety by telling myself that no one would come, but I was wrong. Tucked downstairs in the basement of the Lexington branch of the Trails Library, I had an audience of four. Two of those were my husband and our son.

Mary, the first audience member to arrive, was a print journalist who just helped publish a pictorial history of Lexington. I bought a copy of this amazing book, and Chris and I poured over its pages the rest of the trip. We history nerds loved it!

The other attendee, Larry, was writing a genealogy of his family. He and I talked about the pros and cons of self-publishing, and he told me that Lexington actually had two Civil War battles, though the second one wasn’t of much consequence.

Larry made me laugh. When he saw my cover and the ghostly soldier outfitted in blue, he said, “You know Lexington was pro-south, don’t you?” I did indeed, but I quickly explained the hero of my book served under Col. James Mulligan from St. Louis. Larry nodded a curt approval.

Both of these attendees were a delight. My 30-minute presentation stretched into an hour and a half. The woman was determined to buy my book, and we spent the last 10 minutes of the session trying to navigate the Tirgearr website so I would receive the most money. I gave up when the Amazon page she’d been directed to asked for payment in English pounds. In all of my interest in these two attendees, I forgot to actually read the first chapter from the book. Oops.

A huge shout-out to my amazing husband, who drove nearly all of those 1,700 miles and stayed up until midnight the night before the presentation to change a flat tire. Thanks to my mother-in-law who bought us an AAA membership for the road. And of course, thanks to the staff – Carol, Donna and Mardeana – at Trails Library for hosting me.    

But even after the library presentation, my book tour wasn’t done. At the Obermeier family reunion the next day, I saw my Aunt Mary Rose. This, truthfully, was one of the purposes of the trip – to see and talk with this amazing woman who played such an important role in my childhood. I was also delighted to see my Uncle Jack, Aunt Joann, cousins Debbie, Bill and David.  

At the reunion, I showed my power point again and a cousin’s wife, Connie, told me she would buy the book. At the end of the reunion, I was approached by an older relative, Bill. He wanted to buy my book because, like me, he suffers from insomnia and reading books on Kindle helps him through some long nights. I was delighted to show him Celebration House.

The next day, I met my father’s new significant other, Margaret. She saw my book and bought a copy, then posted it to Facebook and told me her friends were buying it.

We spent a few days invading, I mean visiting, my sister, Barb. On our last day at her house, Wilda, the clerk at the Prengers grocery store, told me she’d gone looking for me on Facebook and had stumbled onto my book. Why hadn’t I told her I wrote books? I explained that self-promotion sometimes felt awkward to me. She told me she had already bought and downloaded Celebration House.

Perhaps the event at the library in Lexington with my audience of two wasn’t worth driving 1,700 miles. But reconnecting with my family and meeting these new readers was.

Hands and arms inside the cart, please. Next: More treasure from the long road trip.

Annette's blog

Ode to a hound

Hour after hour, I sit at this desk, promoting Celebration House and sometimes, for a few stolen minutes of bliss, working on my next book, A Year with Geno. My family leaves me in peace. They know I get cranky with interruptions. But I’m not alone: my faithful basset hound, Eeyore, is asleep by my chair.

Recently, I reconnected with my uncle, Jack Obermeier. We’re Facebook friends now. I laughed when I saw his portrait photo: a beautiful long-eared hound. At least I know I come by my passion for the breed through genetics. Here, then, is a humble offering to my Uncle Jack and those in my audience who cannot imagine life without a hound:

Ten things a hound may hear from his owner:
10. I’ve already fed you today. Three times.
9. Why is there a string of drool on this picture frame?
8. You look guilty. Why do you look guilty?
7. How did you get two pounds of raw hamburger off the countertop?
6. You. Smell. Bad.
5. Stop baying. Someone rang the doorbell on the television.
4. How did you get the Easter candy? It was in my bedroom closet.
3. You’re living proof that chocolate does not kill dogs. But right now, I wish it did.
2. What’s in your mouth? Ew, it’s a mouse! I can see the tail…
1. Drop it! Drop it! Oh, you swallowed it.

Annette's blog

The Night before Publication

‘Twas the night before publication,

When all through the house.

Not a creature was stirring,

Except my computer mouse.


My spouse was nestled all snug in his bed,

While visions of royalties danced in his head.

And me nodding off at my computer so late,

Desperate to give my blog an update.


When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.

Away to the window, I flew like a flash,

Tore open the curtains and threw up the sash.


The moon on the breast of the garden below,

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects, ya’ know.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But the ghost of Ray Bradbury, purposeful and clear.


He strode boldly toward me as though on a mission.

His purpose was clear; rein in my ambition.

Seconds later, in my humble office, he stood.

His bushy brows furrowed, his expression not good.


I had written a book, a modest tale,

Which I promoted fanatically, desperate for sales.

Ray came to tell me this promotion must cease.

Focus on the craft, not on the release.


He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

He finished this blog entry, then turned with a jerk,

And giving a nod, out the front door he strode.

No fear of policemen upon this dark road.


He walked away, whistling, a spectre of the night,

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere leaving my sight,

“Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.”

And these words began my publishing day.