My First

Photo by Rob Lambert

There will be others: some in Chicago, some out of state, some international.

There will be others: some with less people, some with more.

There will be others: some with older crowds, some with younger, some with fans, others with critics.

Saturday, October 23, 2010, was my first. My first reading and book signing for The Silence of Trees at the Book Cellar in Chicago’s Lincoln Square, and over 100 people came to help me celebrate!

Photo by Rob Lambert

I’ve been to many readings and signings for other writers, some with a handful of fans, others with hundreds. Each one has a different personality, a different vibe determined by the style of writing, the personality of the author, the venue, time of day, etc. They share a familiar format: you read, maybe Q&A, then sign. Different people throw in personal touches tied to their particular book.

For The Silence of Trees, we had free varenyky, a lovely cake adorned with the cover, and pysanka cookies baked and decorated by my sister, Nadya, & her friends.

Photo by Eight Eyes Photography

We also had a magnificent vorozhka, a fortune teller who read tarot cards for anyone who purchased a book.

Photo by Eight Eyes Photography

Prepared by my father, Ukrainian music played softly in the background, and a slideshow of Ukrainian imagery flashed across the screen behind me.

Photo by Walter Dudycz

The crowd was friendly and enthusiastic. They ordered coffee, tea, and wine, and they bought additional books to support our fabulous venue. Some people even brought in their previously purchased (and already read!) copies for me to sign.

Photo by Walter Dudycz

I read from the first chapter. (My husband attempted to record the reading, and if it turns out I’ll post it, but he was also chasing after our kids who were there and vying for my attention.) A few folks asked questions and made supportive comments, and then the signing.

Holy cow, I never realized that signing books was such a mental drain!

Perhaps it gets easier with practice? Perhaps I need a better pen? I ask those of you who have been doing this for far longer, does it get easier?

(Please share your experiences in the comments. I would love to hear about your first reading/signing, either as a writer or audience-member. )

After the first 50 books, the look of my own signature began to appear wrong, and there were more to sign! If I stopped to think about what I was doing, I got tripped up. Toward the end I was asked to sign in Ukrainian! A challenge on an ordinary day, shifting gears back to my first language at that point in the evening was tough. Thankfully they offered assistance. (Дякую!)

Photo by Eight Eyes Photography

In line, people stopped to chat and offer congratulations. It was overwhelming and wonderful, and I was surprised by some of the friends and family who were able to make it.

While I signed, my mom served varenyky, my sister passed out cookies, some friends jumped in to pass out cake. It reminded me of family parties or my father’s political fundraisers from my youth, when everyone would jump into their roles and help out at an event. We learned early on that you don’t stand around when there’s work to be done.

Photo by Rob Lambert

The staff at the Book Cellar were helpful and courteous, as always. After two Conclave Journal release parties, I feel at home there, and I’m never disappointed by their service.

Now that the book is in people’s hands, so many have contacted me to tell me that Nadya from The Silence of Trees reminded them of their mothers or grandmothers, their wives or mothers-in-law I’m so delighted! I wrote this book to honor those women, to share the type of experiences they lived through.

Photo by Rob Lambert

So that was it. My first book launch, and I wanted to record my impressions before I forgot, before I got caught up with the events on the horizon: Halloween parties, more readings/signings, the Hall of Fame Induction.

Thank you to my family and friends, to all who came out on the 23rd and to everyone who has ordered the book online. If you haven’t ordered your copy, you can buy it on Amazon, through, or ordered from your favorite bookstore.

One last request, if you have read The Silence of Trees, please take a moment to review it on Amazon. The reviews help it to rise in the ranks get and get more attention! Thank you.

To see more photos from the signing, go to: Rob Lambert’s Photos

and Eight Eyes Photography (coming soon)

Published by Valya

Valya Dudycz Lupescu has been making magic with food and words for more than 20 years, incorporating folklore from her Ukrainian heritage with practices that honor the Earth. She’s a writer, content developer, instructor, and mother of three teenagers. Valya is the author of MOTHER CHRISTMAS, THE SILENCE OF TREES, and the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Along with Stephen H. Segal, she is the co-author of FORKING GOOD: An Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of The Good Place and GEEK PARENTING: What Joffrey, Jor-El, Maleficent, and the McFlys Teach Us about Raising a Family (Quirk Books), and co-founder of the Wyrd Words storytelling laboratory. Valya earned her MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her poetry and prose have been published in anthologies and magazines that include, The Year's Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, Kenyon Review, Culture, Gargoyle Magazine, Gone Lawn, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium. You can find her on Twitter @valya and on @valya

One thought on “My First”

  1. Scotti Cohn says:

    I am so pleased and excited for you, Valya! I wish I lived closer to Chicago. I would definitely have been there! I wish every author could have at least one book signing like this in their lifetime.

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