Category Archives: launching things

Earth to Cindy

Calling Cindy...

My family was hopeful that after the launch of my debut novel, things would return to normal.  And ideally, I would have dropped everything and gone back to matching socks, if only my novel-in-progress had not been weighing on me like a term paper for a class I’d stopped attending.  Since I was already short-listed for Space Cadet of The Year, and considering how little time remained before summer, it hardly seemed worthwhile to switch gears.  If I could just take the momentum from my book launch and apply it to finishing next novel, I could be present for an earthling summer and sort socks in time for camp.  Unfortunately, over the previous year I’d only demonstrated ability to focus on next novel while in solitary confinement, at least 450 miles from home.  Sacrifices would be required to replicate the intensity.  Earth would have to go.  

I printed the existing draft and read it aloud, plunging deep into the world of my characters, maintaining an iron grip on the narrative line while my grasp of reality flirted with black holes.  I solved literary problems while driving the car, but my passengers rolled their eyes as I passed destinations, again and again.  I rallied for the dinner hour, but was no good for conversation, and relied on the puppy for homework patrol.  At the very moment it seemed our household chaos could not possibly get worse, oldest son arrived home for the summer and unloaded a year’s worth of dorm life just inside the back door.  He left a narrow path to the kitchen but that hardly mattered for obvious reasons.

For the record, I entered a grocery store during all this, but the minute I tossed the first item into my cart, a distressed text message originating from afterschool sports screamed:  WHERE R U??  I had to ditch.      

Yes, I managed to finish the novel, but for the first time in my life, I truly understand my late grandfather.  I laughed at the absent-minded professor stories, but now I know why he backed out of the garage before opening the garage door and why he sometimes wore his pyjama bottoms to work.  And I’m with him on driving to the university and taking the bus home.  At the most distracted point of this episode, I hauled three teenagers out of bed for a very early morning obligation at church and then had to explain to them, and the assembly of church people whose morning I disrupted, that I was operating in a different week of the month.  If they had flipped their calendars ahead one week they would have understood exactly where I was coming from, or where I was at that moment.  Someday it will seem funny.    

And then I reached the end.  I pressed send, launching new novel through cyberspace and into my agent’s orbit.  After a brief personal celebration, I reorganized The Sock Department of our Laundry Room, patronized three grocery stores, and relieved the puppy of command.  At one point a teenager grumbled, “don’t you have a book to write?”  It’s nice to be back.   



Filed under Agent, Cindy Jones, hazards of writing, launching things, teenagers

Pictures from the Tea Launch


The sandwich course

My Jane Austen Summer celebrated its launch over Afternoon Tea in the French Room of The Adolphus Hotel in Downtown Dallas.  These photos are your virtual ticket to the event.

 Getting to The French Room is half the fun.  You don’t just walk in.  From the lobby, a wood-paneled entryway offers a staircase to a spacious landing.  A right turn on the landing and a further ascent create a sense of leaving the real world behind.  When I entered The French Room, I knew two things: I had never been there before, and I would never forget being there now, so striking was the beauty of the marble floor, elegant appointments, and glorious painted ceiling.  Hard to believe Downtown Dallas was only two floors below.  Hard to believe I was launching my novel in that room. 

A guest arrives

The Tea exceeded my expectations from the moment the waiter poured Lily Berry’s Pink Rose Tea, with its unusual lavender tint, into my white china cup.  Three courses were served, featuring things like: Protagonistic Chicken Salad on Bookish Croissant, Vera’s Slightly Controlling Personal Selection of Miniature Pastries, and Nelson’s Assorted Bad News Tea Cookies, each menu item re-named to feature an aspect of My Jane Austen Summer.  Of particular note was Willis Somerford’s Evasive Egg Salad on Cautiously Romantic Brioche.  

Launch Remarks

As I enjoyed the ambience, the menu, and the impeccable service, it occurred to me that everything in The French Room was perfect.  The only thing left was–my talk.  Yikes!  Just being in The French Room inspires awe and creates a certain pressure on a speaker to rise to its standard of beauty.  I ate one of Sue’s Tricky Truffles.  If I’d had a bottle of sherry, I would have spiked everyone’s tea at that moment, knowing my remarks are smarter, more articulate, and funnier, if my audience has imbibed spirits directly before my talk. 

At the appropriate time, I stepped up to the podium to introduce my debut novel.  Rather than indulge

The glorious French Room

the impulse to keep up with The French Room, adding a Baroque flourish I would have regretted forever, I stuck with my prepared remarks.  As a result, my talk ended blessedly without incident, ensuring that my memories of launching My Jane Austen Summer in The French Room will always be as happy as the pictures. 

And finally, the book signing

    Thanks to Kate Mackley Media for the photography of this event.  To see all of the Tea pictures, click here.   


Filed under Cindy Jones, launching things, My Jane Austen Summer, Tea

Life After Launch

I have been a published author for a full week which qualifies me to observe that the old uneasy feeling of handing my precious manuscript over to my husband or my writing group and then WAITING for the verdict, now seems cozy and quaint, compared to the dizzy sensation of surrendering 40,000 copies to the United States of America, its territories and possessions, the Philippines, Canada, and the rest of the world, with the exception of countries listed on Schedule A, and WAITING for the verdict.   

Regardless, it has been a full week and although it was great fun to be surrounded by family and friends on my book’s big day, the party’s over and, as one of my sons pointed out yesterday, we still have no bread.  Now that the book is out in the world where she will have to rely on her merits to survive, it is time to resume grocery shopping, address maintenance issues deferred for the last five years, and lower the boom on homework procrastinators.  And promote the book.  Although they claim to love their new “sister”, one family member asked when are we gonna get all these books out of the living room?…  (She’s not going back to the hospital).

Many thanks to all who joined me at Borders for the launch event.  You honored me with your presence.  And thanks to Bob Jones who provided pictures to share with those who are far away.  For more pictures, click the Facebook badge to the right of this post and check out photos on the My Jane Austen Summer Facebook page.



Surrounded by friends and family

The bookstore is only 4.7 miles from home but it took 10 years to get there!


Filed under Cindy Jones, launching things, My Jane Austen Summer, teenagers

Launch Day: Here we go!

My Jane Austen Summer is released as of today.  If you have not yet ordered your copy, you can do so from the links on my website:  

If you are in Dallas, please come to the launch event:

My Jane Austen Summer Launch Day Event 
Tuesday, March 29 at 7 pm
Border’s Books and Music
5500 Greenville Avenue (facing Lovers Ln.)
This event is free and open to the public and no reservation is required

Here are links to reviews:

My Jane Austen Summer celebrates publication today with a four-stop blog tour and giveaways on each blog. Visit and leave a comment for a chance to win a signed copy of the novel and a package of Lily Berry’s Pink Rose Tea, created by Bingley’s Teas, Ltd.  Each blog will hold a separate drawing, meaning four chances to win. Here’s where we’re celebrating:




Filed under Book Review, Cindy Jones, launching things, My Jane Austen Summer

Dallas Launch Events

One of the unexpected pleasures of working with the copy editor on my book was receipt of the Style Sheet, a document summarizing the editorial conventions to be followed in preparing my text for publication.  Included were explanations of my usage, “narrative is colloquial, may not always be strictly grammatical” (thankyouverymuch), a list of ironic labels I enjoyed seeing all in one place, and a roll of place names and proper names that, when presented in such a businesslike manner, seemed oddly real, like seeing my children dressed up for Easter brunch.  On March 29, I will celebrate the birth of My Jane Austen Summer and welcome my 57 new fictional characters into the world, including:  Lily, Willis, Vera, Nigel, Omar, Magda, Archie, Bets, Gary, Lady Weston, Randolph and Pippa, one cat, one dog, and all the others I spent five years wrangling into a plot.  

Please join this book birthday celebration at either of two launch events to be held in Dallas.  Here is your formal invitation:

My Jane Austen Summer Launch Day Event 
Tuesday, March 29 at 7 pm
Border’s Books and Music
5500 Greenville Avenue (facing Lovers Ln.)
This event is free and open to the public and no reservation is required


Tea with My Jane Austen Summer
Literary Launch in The French Room
The Adolphus Hotel
Saturday, April 9
2 to 3:30
$48.86/person, includes Afternoon Tea, tax and gratuity
Make your check payable to: My Jane Austen Summer
and mail to:
Tea with My Jane Austen Summer
6301 Gaston Ave., Suite 530
Dallas, Texas  75214

Seating is limited and your ticket to this event is non-refundable.
Questions?  Email 
Lily Berry’s Pink Rose tea will be served and period attire is encouraged!



Filed under Editor, launching things, My Jane Austen Summer

My Book Promotion Plan

Question:  What do Bingley’s Teas, my debut novel, and my mother all have in common?  Answer:  They are all part of my book promotion plan.   My platform is Tea.  Brainstorming for a small favor to give away at book launch events, and considering that tea plays an important role in my book, I found myself wishing for tea bags with the book’s cover on the label.  Then I remembered Bingley’s Teas Ltd: Home of the Jane Austen Tea Series.  If Bingley’s can blend a tea for Fanny Price, why not blend a tea for my protagonist?  From there, the Tea Idea grew into a means of enhancing the literary experience, lifting the book from a solitary read to a social event.  Basic Plan:
  • Produce Lily Berry’s Pink Rose Tea, a blend of organic roses and berries in a green tea, available on my website.       

    A Literary Heroine With Her Own Tea!

    A Literary Heroine With Her Own Tea!

  • Hold book talk/signing events at tea rooms.  Work with tea venues to offer “Literary Teas” by providing a book talk after the last course is served.  I’ll bring the tea!  A great place for book clubs to converge.
  • Book Clubs can try this at home.  Book clubs can host a Literary Tea in their own homes.  My website provides ideas, suggestions, and recipes to get organized.

My website:

How do I know so much about tea parties?  My mother developed Afternoon Tea at St. Matthew’s Cathedral in Dallas to raise money for the Cathedral Restoration Fund.  The annual tea involved an army of volunteers and sold out every year:  400  guests at each seating.  Working with my mother all those years, I got the hang of tea production on a grand scale, details of which made their way into my novel.  The recipe for St. Mary’s Guild’s Dried-Cherry Scones is included on my website.   

With all my tea experience, I’ve never helped blend the actual tea.  Working with Julia Matson of Bingley’s Tea Ltd was a joyful collaboration.  Lily Berry’s Pink Rose Tea is an original blend of organic green tea, organic rose petals, narcissus, and whole dried fruits–including strawberries and rhubarb–a combination chosen to illustrate Lily’s fresh, romantic, and often surprising personality.  The tea comes in a pretty white pouch with a window on the back so you can see the beautiful tea.    

Turns out, Twitter was a walk in the park as far as book promotion learning curves go.  For the past two months I have been homeschooling myself in paypal buttons, tea tasting, shipping costs, and commercial label design.  Don’t get me started on file conversion.

Launch is 26 days away.  Have you pre-ordered your copy?  You can place an order with your favorite online bookseller from my website:

If you are in Dallas on Tuesday, March 29, please join me at Border’s Books on Lover’s Lane at 7pm for a launch event.  The party is free and open to the public and I’ll bring the tea!


Filed under Cindy Jones, launching things, My Jane Austen Summer, The business of writing...

Labor and Delivery of a Novel

Snow Day

I almost did not post a blog today.  I’m tired of listening to myself, and I would be tired of listening to me if I were you.  Everyone in my house thinks I’m a little wound up.  Don’t read this unless you have nothing better to do.  (I think I’m experiencing false labor for authors).  

My book will be available in stores on March 29 and I am hyper-focusing on that date as I have not obsessed on a date since the labor and delivery of my sons.  March 29 will come and go without much notice for the rest of the world, as it spins through spring break and on to Easter.  Only for me, does everything come to a screeching halt on March 29.  Life as I know it will cease. 

On March 29.

When I was hyper-focusing on the due date of my children, I imagined life as a mother.  I expected fulfillment of dreams and transcendence into a new level of existence.  I sewed crib bumpers, laundered onesies in Dreft, and debated cloth versus disposable.  As it turns out, actual motherhood is less about crib bumpers and more about being The Person who makes sure a fragile infant lives and thrives.  Once they were born it was like wearing a shock collar as a constant reminder of their utter dependence, although I never needed a jolt of electricity to remind me.  Once they were born, it was as if some of my vital organs left to live outside of my body.  You don’t forget where you left your heart and lungs.      

I suspect that life after publication will be less about published bliss and more about dealing with the new reality that part of my imagination has begun living outside of my head.  The characters and setting created in my mind will take published form and, although Harper Collins will do their part, the book’s survival will be up to me.  A book lives as long as it is being read and my job is to make sure that readers know it exists.  I’ll be busy doing all I can do to ensure the survival of my baby fiction.  And I won’t need a shock collar to remember where I left my imagination.

Any life changing dates in your future?


Filed under Cindy Jones, launching things, My Jane Austen Summer, The business of writing...

My Book Tour

My Ten-City Book Tour

My book launches exactly nine weeks from today and the first question people ask is, are you going to do a book tour?  The answer is: I did it last weekend.  My book tour consisted of transporting high school textbooks from the dining room to teenager bedrooms so that extended family could celebrate a birthday dinner around an actual table.  Turns out, ten city book tours only happen to celebrity authors and fictional protagonists.  According to my publicist, appearances do not sell books.  According to Guerilla Marketing for Writers, the average number of books sold at a book signing is…four. 

Reader, I didn’t know it was going to be this hard.  I thought once you signed a contract with a publisher you proceeded to the next level where things like grocery shopping, bill paying, and tooth flossing were outsourced.  I thought my staff would hand me a boarding pass and point me to New York City and beyond.   With no experience, no established audience, and no budget, what’s a debut author to do?   

The challenge:  Develop a unique book promotion plan that communicates the appeal of My Jane Austen Summer to readers throughout the world.  The plan’s format and design are limited only by the designer’s creativity.  Resources available:  computer, materials found in the home, and imagination.  Deadline:  February 15.  If you are successful, your book lives.  If not, leave quietly.  

Nobody told me I would have to use my imagination to solve problems!     

Time is running out, but don’t worry.  The same gray matter that brought My Jane Austen Summer into the world is working around the clock to solve The Challenge and keep the book from an early demise.  Come back on February 15 when The Solution will be revealed.  Although the plan is still under construction, rest assured it will require no hotel reservations, boarding passes, or invasive TSA pat-downs.


Filed under Cindy Jones, launching things, My Jane Austen Summer, The business of writing...

The Holidays: Part I

Little Person Wearing Tutu

In the spirit of Pilgrims and Indians, I shut down my Word files the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and invited Niece and Nephews to spend the afternoon with me.  We would prepare our Thanksgiving Turkey and take the puppy for her first walk ever.  The Little People, as their older cousins call them, never refuse an invitation.  (Aunt Cindy is still fun!)  They wear superhero attire at all times because The Call could come at any moment.  Niece wears a tutu and Nephews dress as Spiderman or X Man.  Don’t be fooled by their height, they know an empty gas gauge when they see one and two of them can read traffic signs.  At the grocery store, all of The Little People wanted to carry the celery.  At the lake, all of The Little People wanted to walk the turkey–I mean puppy.  (Aunt Cindy is still funny!)   When I mentioned we might have time to read Thanksgiving stories, oldest Nephew said, “Oh yeah, baby, baby!”  (Aunt Cindy still does cool stuff!)      

It was all fun and games until the Teenagers came home.  Three-year old Niece ditched her Thanksgiving book to run slo-mo (think: Elvira Madigan in a tutu) into the arms of her home-from-college cousin, while Nephews dropped their onions and celery to take up Nerf arms (superheroes, see?) against the invading teenagers, all of whom declared there was to be no noise and no making messes. (Aunt Cindy loves the irony!)  Action-adventure notwithstanding, a Rockwell moment occurred when we took the perfect turkey out of the oven.  So good-looking, it could have starred in a Hallmark Thanksgiving Special, and if the teenagers hadn’t seen it come out of my oven, they would have accused me of take-out.  

Little People never take an intermission and the holiday was a three-day symphony, all movements conducted allegro con brio.  With two grandmas, the turkey smell, and total chaos of Batman versus the Pilgrims, football and piddling puppy, and–I am not kidding–the adoption of three baby kittens (not me), we counted our blessings, and nobody got seriously traumatized or lost, except maybe some of the kittens.  At one moment in the melee, my mother remarked that I seemed to be showing signs of readiness for grand-parenthood.  Not the point, mom.  In fact, you got that exactly backwards.  (Aunt Cindy’s still got it!)  

We’re finding Nerf bullets and getting sticky off everything in time to launch The Holidays: Part II.


Filed under Cindy Jones, launching things, Motherhood, My Jane Austen Summer, teenagers

I Am Thankful for Instant Messaging

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wish to express gratitude to technology for promoting close ties with my loved ones (pictured right) even if it occasionally feels too close for comfort.  Take my cell phone.  Please.  Family members can catch me in the book store, girl lunches, and the hairdresser’s shampoo station.  Husband invariably calls both times I visit the pedicure salon, and since he doesn’t really know what a pedicure is, makes me repeat the word five times and seek other words to describe what I’m doing, until all 17 fellow pedicure clients glance up from their magazines to lament my short leash.  

Take Instant Messaging.  Please.  By touching a few letters, my sons can cryptically inform me if they are in any kind of need, a state they interpret widely to include hunger, gym clothes, and homework.  But.  Instant messaging is a two-edged sword, and thanks to the  high school family network, I see their grades before they do, (if I’m paying attention).  Thanks to Facebook’s lack of privacy, I know what they’re broadcasting on the cosmic information superhighway soon enough to protect them from themselves.  

If I’m paying attention.     

You can experience this same degree of intimacy with MY JANE AUSTEN SUMMER.  Enrolled in Facebook?  You can click on the icon to the right of this post to gain instant access to the intimate details of a novel’s birth.  You can experience the labor and delivery of baby fiction as if you were present at the printing press, bear the author’s endless self-promotion, and know what reviewers say the moment their thoughts first occur to them.  How many of your closest friends are books?  MY JANE AUSTEN SUMMER has a total of 22 fans.  While this is high achievement for a lemonade stand, it will not impress the Head Office.  So go ahead and friend the book.  It can’t talk back and will never text you for homework, lunch, or gym clothes.


Filed under Cindy Jones, First Reader (aka Husband), launching things, Motherhood, teenagers