Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Hello Dolly!

Not the musical. Not the country western singer.

I sometimes do signings with Bob Goldsborough, one half of The Deadly Duo. I sometimes do library talks with Mary Welk and Sandy Tooley, two thirds of the Mystery Mavens.

I always travel with The Rosary Bride. She travels well and needs minimal space for her belongings.

The Rosary Bride
‘lives’ in a wooden coffin lined with red felt. She brings a few roses with her but only carries a rosary in her hand. She is actually a dime store soft plastic skeleton outfitted in a Barbie™ wedding dress and veil. My friend Kelle Z. Riley, fellow Echelon author, made up the ‘prop’ for me when I spoke at my first event at Borders in Naperville when my first book, The Rosary Bride, came out. Kelle shredded the dress a bit and added a tiny pearl bracelet with a cross to match the cover of the book. That night when she was introduced to the circle of women who had come to my debut I promised her, the Bride, not Kelle, that I would bring her, the Bride, not Kelle, with me whenever I did any kind of book event.

I bring the Bride with me wherever I go, whether I’m speaking at a library, signing at a bookstore, presenting on a panel at a mystery conference, speaking to a club, everywhere! Ask Janet Draheim what she thought when she rode the elevator with me and spotted the doll size coffin in my arms at Love is Murder a few years ago. It’s an excellent ice breaker if you like that sort of thing. The other two women attending the horticulture program, “Azaleas and You,” inched away and may have gotten off a few floors early.

Should a grown woman be playing with dolls?

Deb Baker writes about dolls—(A Dolls to Die For Mystery) great series. Dolls are integral to her stories. That’s business.

David Arquette has a doll collection and barely saved his Mr. T doll from his wife’s, Courtney Cox-Arquette, cleaning rampage.

The Bride has become my mascot, my ice breaker. Nothing draws people to your table like a dead doll in a coffin! When I’m speaking to a large group, I introduce myself and then I open the coffin and introduce her. She usually gets bigger applause. I’m okay with that—she doesn’t get a cut of the take.

I’m more than okay with her. Anyone who reads my series knows that my character, Grace Marsden, is obsessive compulsive. Anyone who knows me knows I’m just a teeny bit obsessive compulsive, in a mild not too annoying (I hope) way.

I don’t leave home for book events without her. She’s packed in my rolling lavender suitcase with my handout materials, book stands, business cards, tablecloth, and signing paraphernalia. Sometimes, there isn’t room on a signing table especially if I’m sharing the space. In those few instances, I prop her up on the top of my case (as pictured) so she can ‘get out’ for a bit.

I’ve had a ‘prop’ for each book, a lion in a cage (also made by Kelle), my son’s Thomas Tank Engine™ station platform, even a foot high lighthouse for the last book. I’ll probably have a quilt to display for the next one, The Innkeeper.

The only ‘prop’ that has endured beyond the book launch party and a few signings is the Bride. Maybe because she was first? I hope it’s nothing more complicated.

Luisa Buehler


Deb Baker said...

I LOVE your Bride. She's your signature mark. Don't ever forget her.

Diana Black said...

This is a great post! We just did one on Barbie's 50th birthday, so how timely you should mention your traveling companion! (Yes, I know technically she's not Barbie...but she does wear her wedding dress!)

Bravo! Keep up the great blog & books.


Regan Black said...

Love this! Never forget the bride, she's your trademark - and maybe it'll keep airline security out of your suitcase?