As incredible as it may seem, I began planning for my launch party even before I finished writing DEAR HEART. At the time, I didn't realize that that was what I was doing. All I knew was that I was compelled by some preternatural force to begin stockpiling anything the was shaped like a heart, contained the image of a heart, or had the word 'heart' inscribed somewhere on it.
Between March and January, I would browse eBay and Etsy for heart-related items, and collected an impressive array of heart-shaped bowls and boxes, potpourri pots and coasters, jewelry and serving trays, and, of course, ashtrays. In January and February, when the stores were filled with Valentine-themed items, I picked up paper plates and napkins, wrapping paper and bags, strings of heart-shaped lights and cutting boards in various sizes. Thus, when Solstice picked up DEAR HEART, and the dream of a launch party became a reality, I thought I was ahead of the game. I was wrong.
Once the dust settled and I realized that DEAR HEART was going to hit the market sooner rather than later, I took stock of my inventory. And, I was shocked to discover that I did not have all that I needed to dress the house and my dining room table so that they SCREAMED DEAR HEART. So, in between completing my to-do list, and setting up my social media accounts, and going over the edits, I began to fill in the gaps.
There was so much to buy: red checkered tablecloths and vintage Chianti bottles from 1971 and 1972, the years that the main characters in the book were together, multi-colored drip candles for the Chianti bottles, and actual Chianti to serve my guests; entwined heart garden flags, a centerpiece of hydrangeas, day lilies and Shasta daisies, paper bowls for Italian Wedding Soup, plastic silverware, cups, serving boards and something special for the front door. Suffice it to say that Amazon and eBay love me.
Dipping oils and chicken stock with a 2020 shelf life have been purchased, and, although it's way too early to start buying the rest of the food for the party, I have nailed down the best places to purchase exotic meats and cheeses and wonderfully briny olives and out of season figs -- which probably no one will eat. My sister and nephew and niece have volunteered to provide the cannolis, which is a load off my mind since I am still on the hunt for a source for the perfect crusty rolls.
Throughout it all, my husband has been stoic and supportive, although at one point he did demand to know if I was planning to do this for every book I have published. I'm not -- not only because it would bankrupt us, but also because, contrary to popular belief, I do not like the limelight, and am embarrassed by the self-aggrandizing aspect of hosting a launch party. That being said, I'm looking forward to it. Why? Because during one of my forays through the eBay warehouse I found an item that will stupefy my guests and take their breath away. And that is all I'm going to say about that -- for now. You'll have to wait for the actual launch party to find out what additional surprises I have up my sleeve, but I promise you this: you won't be disappointed.
NEXT: The Ritual