Friday, October 23, 2009

Book Signing to Benefit United Way

Below is the press release on my book signing on Thursday.


Bristol Native Returns for Book Signing to Benefit United Way

(Williamsburg, VA • October 23, 2009) Bristol native and author Greg Lilly returns home for a book signing Thursday, October 29th at the Bristol Mall's Piccadilly from 5 – 7 p.m. to help support the United Way. Lilly grew up in Bristol, graduating from John S. Battle High School and Virginia Tech, and credits Southwest Virginia as inspiration for his storytelling drive.

His most recent novel Under a Copper Moon placed as one of the top ten historical novels in the nation-wide Next Generation Indie Book Awards. It tells the story of a mail-order bride in the copper mining boom era of the Arizona Territory during the1890s. "I lived for several years in Sedona, Arizona," Lilly says. "The copper mining town of Jerome seemed to be snagged on the side of a mountain ridge west of my house. Back in the 1930s, the place became a ghost town, but I always wondered what life was like leading up to the turn of the twentieth century when the New York Post, in 1901, labeled Jerome the 'Wickedest Town in America' and the money and good times shaped daily life."

In his novel Devil's Bridge, set in contemporary times, the main character deals with the terror of domestic abuse. "The story of the character Myra and her fear, isolation, and eventual recognition of the abuse that leads to her escape has been praised by critics and readers who told me of their similar experiences," Lilly explains. "In writing the book, I discovered the complex dynamics of abuser and victim relationships and how difficult it is for a victim to characterize their treatment as abuse." This storyline prompted Lilly to do several benefit book signings, and a portion of the proceeds from the Bristol book signing will be donated to the United Way to support its community-based objectives.

Also, Devil's Bridge places scenes in Bristol's John S. Battle High School and at Virginia Tech. "That was the first novel I wrote," Lilly says, "and I used parts of my background for the character Topher's background. He and Myra are friends in high school, then she goes to Radford and Topher attends Virginia Tech. After college they end up back in the Bristol area. Topher works at the Martha Washington Inn like I did before moving to Charlotte, N.C." He admits that Bristol created a base characterization for both Topher and Myra. "They're both grounded, but living in Charlotte's corporate environment skews their direction," he adds.

Another of his novels, Fingering the Family Jewels – a Derek Mason Mystery, features the first installment of a new mystery series. "The idea kernel came from my years of working at a large family-owned company," Lilly explains. "That situation opens up a lot of plots." The next book in the series is in production and scheduled for a summer 2010 release.

"Growing up in Bristol, I remember storytelling as a trait most people shared," Lilly says. "My parents, uncles and aunts, neighbors and friends could spin a tale that kept me enthralled better than any television show." Storytelling turned into writing and Lilly now has three published novels that he will have available at the book signing.

Lilly appears at the Bristol Mall's Piccadilly on Thursday, October 29 from 5 – 7 p.m. to sign books. A portion of the proceeds from all three books will be donated to the United Way of Bristol TN/VA.

More information about Greg Lilly and his novels can be found at

More information about the United Way can be found at

Here's a video invitation to the book signing.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Social Network for Readers?

Social networking can chew up and swallow a lot of time. Blogging, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, BookReader (or something like that). What? Not heard of BookReader? I read somewhere that this was the place to be involved if you loved reading, but if you were an author, forget the other networks and commune with your target audience – people who love to read. I probably read that from strategic PR sent out by the BookReader company.

As a mid-list author that few people have heard about, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get my name out and expose by books to a new set of readers. Authors live on the "Island of Misfit Toys" – wanting nothing more than for readers to discover their books. So along with the other networks that I use to connect with friends, family, readers, and other authors, I signed up for BookReader.

At first it was better that chocolate. All these readers devouring books and asking for advice on what to read next. I joined groups that reflected the subjects of my books and posted a few messages to introduce myself and what I wrote. I 'friended' readers and authors. I commented on books I had read. I posted my writing tips and insights into my writing life. I signed up for the daily e-mail so I could keep tabs on what all these readers said about books, what they buzzed about, what types of books they loved, what they didn't like reading...

The e-mails arrived and sometimes they led me back to BookReader to comment or to check out a book that people posted reviews on, but then it happened: Television pushed its way into discussions. Like nicotine, TV buzzed the readers with easy topics of conversation. 'Have you read John Morgan Wilson's Rhapsody in Blood?' 'No, but did you see CSI last night?' And off the discussion drifted like an exhaled plume of cigarette smoke leached into other group discussions. 'What's your favorite Brad Pitt movie?' 'How do you fix your Thanksgiving turkey—bake or fry?' 'Has Glee strayed too far from its original story?'

In the past month, I don't recall a single e-mail update that had anything to do with reading or books. The one I received today let me know that the moderator had posted a poll question in the "Mystery Novels" group: 'Who is your favorite 70s band?'

I guess in a way that's a mystery since it a question... Okay, these types of polls and discussions are great for Facebook and MySpace. I do them there. It's fun to get to know people and remember things about old friends.

But, BookReader? It brings people together with a common passion – reading – but I guess it's only human nature to expand that to other subjects to discover how else your BookReader friends are like you.

Social networking as a promotional tool for authors? Nope, it's a place to let your mind relax after hours of revising a manuscript. Because really, even if I want you to discover and read my books, what I really want to know is: Can you believe Project Runway last night?