Cat’s Cafe has made it into bookstores! (lots of photos)

Barnes & Noble Lincoln Public Library Lincoln Memorial Garden

A busy week in Springfield, Illinois

Lincoln Library

The week began with my evening presentation to a full Lincoln Library Carnegie Room. I presented a photo-driven program about my early work with Melotte Morse Stained Glass restoring the Frank Lloyd Wright Dana-Thomas House stained glass windows, lamps and skylights. Of course these programs give me an opportunity to tell people about my new book, but, besides that, they are really fun to do. Local audience members who usually attend these sorts of cultural events already know a fair amount about the subject and ask great questions for at least half an hour after I’m finished. This was no exception, and a few stopped by my Tuesday book signing at Prairie Archives as well! Thank you to the entire Lincoln Library team for making this so easy.

Next stop, Prairie Archives

The next day was cold and windy — the perfect day for visitors to browse one of Springfield’s finest, oldest bookshops. Thanks to Prairie Archives owner John Paul for hosting my book signing and taking several books (an exception and favor in his collection of amazing used books, albums, maps, vintage everything.) When I worked downtown, I passed his wonderful shop every day and spent many happy hours shopping. His collection is fantastic and surprisingly accessible whether you’re there to browse or know exactly what you’re looking for. A true Springfield institution. He was the first to carry my new novel in a bookstore, closely followed by Heidi Raak, owner of the Yardstick in Algoma, Wisconsin.

In a week full of “Look Mom, I made it!” moments: Barnes & Noble Books

And then came Barnes & Noble. The big win here is that Store Manager Caroline Bolen found a way to sell my books, signed a consignment contract with me for an initial 20 paperbacks, and featured Cat’s Cafe prominently right in front of the Customer Services desk. Caroline, right-hand associate Casey Hutchison, DiAnne, and I met in the store coffee shop to get acquainted and discuss arrangements. —Lots of smiles and laughter with this super fun team. The one thing that would have made it even better … if there hadn’t been another unexpected caveat in the ongoing struggle with Friesen Press. It turns out, BN isn’t even allowed to offer Cat’s Cafe in their catalog, only consignment. Still, thrilled!

Fundraiser for Lincoln Memorial Garden

We wrapped up the week with a visit to Lincoln Memorial Garden to support the annual Maple Syrup Time Pancake & Sausage Breakfast and Silent Auction. Our “basket” evoked the life and times of Cat’s Cafe characters Catherine Stubin and Rebecca Mitchell with a cast iron fry pan, Haviland china, a signed and sealed hardcover book and birch bookstand, and a presentation to the winning bidder’s group of 10 to be arranged later this spring about the historical fiction writing process, great western migration, and Eagle Rock, Idaho. Of the hundreds of items artfully presented throughout the gift shop and nature center, Executive Director Joel Horwedel and his team decided to put my collection front and center! I was surprised and pleased to see it there — and to see that it did actually sell! HaHa! Thank you to everyone involved.

For an update on Book Two, complete list of places to buy Cat’s Cafe, current inventories and prices, and a shout out to my friend Joyce, visit That will all be in tomorrow’s post.

Thank you! ~ Ralls

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