City Mice and Country Mice

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MaestroDJS
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City Mice and Country Mice

Post by MaestroDJS » Sat Jul 09, 2005 8:34 pm

Ralph wrote:I love Chicago and visit once a year. Even a confirmed Gothamite likes the feel of a small town occasionally.
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Much as we enjoy Chicago nowadays, Denise & I remember our roots in small-town Illinois. This weekend we're in our hometown of Coal City: population 3000, not counting livestock, dogs and stray cats. It's like Mayberry with Midwest accents. Denise promotes her books all over the US, but always visits Coal City after each new release. Saturday she autographed about 300 copies of Murder of a Smart Cookie at a local store. That's 10% of the population, so it's small wonder her events attract the biggest crowds in Coal City since the skating rink burned down in 1973. :)

Denise Swanson: Personal Appearances 2005: Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, New York and North Carolina
http://www.DeniseSwanson.com/appears.htm

The big city and the small town don't quite understand each other's millieux, but somehow we bridge them both. Denise's publisher, Penguin Putnam of New York, doubted her Scumble River Mystery series in the rural Midwest would have a readership, but now they give Denise a lot of leeway because her books have probably sold a million copies. Two weeks ago they sponsored Denise at the American Library Association Annual Convention at McCormick Place in Chicago. She autographed books by the carton, and they didn't want her to leave because they had groups of eager buyers from almost everywhere. "Dave! Quick! How do you say 'thank you' in French? in Russian? in Croatian? in Japanese?" It's amazing how many big-city readers -- from New York, Los Angeles and yes Chicago -- love her books too. Maybe they just want a vicarious release from the rat race to an idealized but slighty out-of-kilter small-town Illinois. We just checked her numbers on Barnes & Noble, and her book is now No. 85 out of who-knows-how-many million. That's terrific, in the top 1/1000th of a percent, but all these promotions are another reason I don't have much time to compose lately. Oh well, it's a good problem to have.

Barnes & Noble: Denise Swanson: Murder of a Smart Cookie: A Scumble River Mystery
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/bookse ... 5842&itm=1

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Sometimes we pinch ourselves, because we're small-town kids at heart, and yet we move in big city circles with relative ease. Maybe it's not so surprising. The ratios of rubes and sophisticates seem the same everywhere. The bell curve is constant, as are the percentages of ding-a-lings. However the big cities have critical masses of sophisticates who can support large-scale cultural activities.

Yet it was growing up in teeny-tiny Coal City that I learned to love fine music, due to my uncle who lived in Europe for 2 decades ("Wow, another box of Deutsche Grammophon LPs!"), and due to an enthusiastic high school band director ("If you don't See Sharp, you'll Be Flat!"). My small-town roots help preserve my sense of amused wonder. Like the year I had an engineering project in Berlin and the doggone Wall fell! Or later simply walking in Paris, Sydney, Buenos Aires etc., and chatting with the locals in their languages. "How on Earth did someone like me ever get here? Shouldn't I be back at home with Andy, Opie and Aunt Bea?"

Maybe the raw materials are less important than what we do with them. Whatever we're doing right, I hope we keep it up.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to get back to some R & R, watching the corn grow, before we return to Chicago. Which reminds me of the time a field of popcorn caught fire, and half the county had to be treated for shell shock. :D

Dave

David Stybr
Personal Assistant and Der Webmeister to author Denise Swanson
http://www.DeniseSwanson.com
~ Scumble River Mysteries ~
Book 7: Murder of a Smart Cookie, July 2005
Penguin Putnam ~ Signet, New York, New York

David Stybr, Engineer and Composer: It's Left Brain vs. Right Brain: best 2 falls out of 3
http://members.SibeliusMusic.com/Stybr

Coordinator, Classical Music SIG (Special Interest Group) of American Mensa

Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Sat Jul 09, 2005 8:49 pm

I never realized your wife is a mystery writer. I read two or three a week, just enjoyable mental chewing gum and I have my favorite authors.

I will be looking for your wife's books at B&N tomorrow!
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

MaestroDJS
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Post by MaestroDJS » Sun Aug 07, 2005 6:47 pm

Wow, what a summer! Denise's publishers Penguin Putnam in New York are very pleased at the reception of her 7th book Murder of a Smart Cookie. For example, it was on the Barnes & Noble Mass Market Bestseller List for the month of July, and it is still there in August. She has also been much in demand for personal appearances at bookstores, conference and festivals here in Illinois, as well as in Georgia, Kentucky, Missouri and North Carolina. This autumn will also find her in Kansas, Michigan and New York.

<IMG SRC="http://www.sokybookfest.org/Bookfest05/ ... g_8390.jpg" ALT="Southern Kentucky Book Festival, Bowling Green, Kentucky" HEIGHT="267" WIDTH="400" ALIGN="top" BORDER="0">
April: Bowling Green, Kentucky: Southern Kentucky Book Festival. Denise Swanson (left) autographs stacks of her books and chats with her fans.

In addition, my engineering projects, our home construction etc. have made this a very busy summer. It's almost time for a nice relaxing vacation away from Chicago, so as a change of pace we'll laze around some lakes and rivers in Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas and Missouri. We were curious whether any bookstores along the way might want her to stop in and autograph their stocks of her books. Almost immediately 9 or 10 bookstores said yes, so this will become a working vacation.

Denise Swanson: Personal Appearances
http://www.DeniseSwanson.com/appears.htm

In other developments, we've even had a few nibbles from Hollywood. Not to drop names, a mid-level actress has expressed interest in Denise's book series, and a respected screenwriter/director & his wife have said that they are big fans of her books too. Murder of a Smart Cookie has a subtle reference to one of his recent films, and Denise was astonished that this very director caught it! However we are realistic and know that nothing will probably come of these inquiries. Nonetheless, they approached Denise and gave her their personal contact information, so it's encouraging. In any case, we won't hold our breaths, and I'll keep my day job as an engineer.

I hope by September my schedule will calm down enough for me to become a regular contributor to the musical discussions in this forum again.

Dave

David Stybr
Personal Assistant and Der Webmeister to author Denise Swanson
http://www.DeniseSwanson.com
~ Scumble River Mysteries ~
Murder of a Smart Cookie, July 2005 (Daphne du Maurier Finalist)
Murder of a Pink Elephant, July 2004 (Daphne du Maurier Finalist)
Murder of a Barbie and Ken, November 2003 (Daphne du Maurier Finalist)
Murder of a Snake in the Grass, April 2003
Murder of a Sleeping Beauty, April 2002
Murder of a Sweet Old Lady, April 2001 (Mary Higgins Clark Award nominee)
Murder of a Small-Town Honey, July 2000 (Agatha Award nominee)
Penguin Putnam ~ Signet, New York, New York

David Stybr, Engineer and Composer: It's Left Brain vs. Right Brain: best 2 falls out of 3
http://members.SibeliusMusic.com/Stybr

Coordinator, Classical Music SIG (Special Interest Group) of American Mensa

Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Sun Aug 07, 2005 7:35 pm

I bought the first two and will get to them this week (I hope).
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

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Post by Corlyss_D » Sun Aug 07, 2005 11:27 pm

I want to see a TV series. If they can do one on a mystery bookstore owner, they can do one about a small town school psychologist. It's perfect Hallmark Channel material.
Corlyss
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Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Mon Aug 08, 2005 4:55 am

I want a TV series on the life of a highway toll collector. Unsung non-heroes, their stories have the possibility of enthralling millions.
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

MaestroDJS
Posts: 1713
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Post by MaestroDJS » Mon Aug 08, 2005 5:29 am

Gee, it just doesn't stop! The Sunday (August 7) Chicago Tribune featured essays about memorable teachers in their magazine section. The lead essay featured Chicago-born actor Dennis Farina (of Law and Order) and his favorite teachers. You'll also find an essay by Denise Swanson on page 19 of the Chicago Tribune Magazine. Sure glad I decided to back my wife 100% when she wanted to be a writer, but it doesn't leave much time for my 2nd career as a composer. Oh well, probably a good problem to have.

Dave

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Post by Corlyss_D » Mon Aug 08, 2005 12:57 pm

Ralph wrote:I want a TV series on the life of a highway toll collector. Unsung non-heroes, their stories have the possibility of enthralling millions.
You mean those little cone shaped buckets you throw your money into?
Corlyss
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Ralph
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Post by Ralph » Mon Aug 08, 2005 9:51 pm

Corlyss_D wrote:
Ralph wrote:I want a TV series on the life of a highway toll collector. Unsung non-heroes, their stories have the possibility of enthralling millions.
You mean those little cone shaped buckets you throw your money into?
*****

No, those who toil in booths serving motorists without exact change or, on the Eastern Seaboard, E-Z Pass.
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"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."

Albert Einstein

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