On autographed books and getting misty-eyed…

Preface: I love ebooks. I write them, I read them (almost exclusively), and I embrace them as the wave of the future, but the other day, as I was dusting the bookshelf holding my collection of autographed hardback and soft covers, I got a little misty-eyed.

Crazy is still available through Amazon.

Crazy is still available through Amazon.

No miracle of technology can replace an autographed print book, especially when that book was written and signed by friend who has died. Among my collection is Crazy: One Goddess’s Journey by Catherine Gabriel, a novel about a woman finding herself after her divorce–based on Catherine own experiences. Catherine and I belonged to the same writer’s organization when she asked if I’d beta read her manuscript, Crazy. I did and we became good friends, sharing a love of writing, Scrabble, laughter, and Thelma-and-Louise-without-the-murder-and-suicide girl trips. Catherine was the first person with whom I shared my pen name and spoke about my spanking romances. Her response: “It may not be my cup of tea, but you are.”

I always pictured us growing old together, two little old ladies drinking coffee and playing Scrabble. Except that picture ended three years ago when Catherine died of cancer at age 54.

But I have memories, photographs, and an autographed copy of Crazy to remember her by. I mean to re-read it, but I don’t think I can yet, because it sounds so much like her. Her humor, her tone, her voice come through her words.

My autographed books mark the milestones of my life. Not the stories themselves, but the books, the efforts, the people who wrote them, the authors whose lives paralleled mine or who represented success to which I aspired. My autographed books represent friendships, hopes and dreams.

Among them:

The Furies and Flame by Ingrid Rimland. Sounds like a bodice ripper, but it’s a memoir. This was my first autographed book, purchased long before I ever considered writing a book myself.  I was a lifestyle reporter sent to cover a women’s club meeting. Ingrid Rimland was the guest  speaker, and her book was about her harrowing attempt to get medical help for her son. I don’t remember what his illness was, but I was so moved by her story, I bought her book.

Body of a Crime by Michael C. Eberhardt – A novel about the prosecution of a no-body murder case, written by a local defense attorney in my former town who’d defended and won such a case. His book was published during my struggle-to-get-published stage.  I’ll say it: I was jealous as hell. I often would go to hear authors who’d “made it.” I have many of their books on my shelf.

The Signing Santa by Kathy Shearer and A Chair Full of Heart by Vicky Cavin–Two ladies who became my friends after the three of us self-published years before print-on-demand and ebooks ever existed.

The latest friend's book I've added to my collection. Also available in ebook on Amazon.

The latest friend’s book I’ve added to my collection. Also available in ebook on Amazon.

Wicked Ties by Shayla Black and Forbidden Pleasure by Lora Leigh. Two books by two famous authors who most influenced my erotic romance writing career. I had their books autographed during a fangirl moment at my first RT.

Haunt my Heart by Lisa Medley — The latest addition to my collection. An aweseome book by an awesome author who is also a real life friend that I met through the Ozarks Romance Authors. We are navigating the self-publishing water together.

So many of my autographed books were written by friends, members of writing and critique groups I belonged to, and by colleagues. I love my Kindle, but I have to admit I treasure these signed books and will keep them forever.

I cannot imagine not having a signed copy of Crazy: One Goddess’s Journey.

Speaking of books…

CaraBristol_RandCSociety_ReasonableDoubts_400x600My newest one, Reasonable Doubts, a Rod and Cane Society, spanking romance was officially released on Tuesday. It’s about a widow faced with not only dating for the first time in her adult life, but also having to tell her prospect love about her tiny little kink…

It’s available on Amazon (US, UK, CA, AU) and All Romance.

Amazon Buy Link

In celebration of the release, I am giving away Rod and Cane Society memberships card to everyone who comments on a guest blog. Plus, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a Rod and Cane Society coffee mug. Today’s guest blogs is:

Casey McKay – The role of chemistry in a relationship

Previous guest blogs

Maren Smith – The characters speak out

Katherine Deane – Author Interview (me!)

PK Corey – Author Interview

The complete Guest Blog Tour Schedule


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8 Responses to On autographed books and getting misty-eyed…

  1. I love that story and it made me misty-eyed. Memories are wonderful and sometimes heartbreaking all at once. You’ve made me feel nostalgic. I’m going to go have a peek at my bookshelf now…

  2. Lisa Medley says:

    And THIS is why I wear waterproof mascara. {Sobbing} I’m honored to be included in this list. I can’t imagine going through this past year without you 😀 xoxoxo

  3. S.J. Maylee says:

    Aw! Such wonderful treasures you have, Cara. I don’t have many autographed books, but my keeper shelve is definitely a special place.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      I only have one shelf of them, and I’ve collected them over a few decades. I think it’s a little sad when I’ve been in a used bookstore or a thrift shop and found autographed books.

  4. I have a few treasured signed books, too, so I totally understand! I really am so sorry to hear about the loss of your good friend, but it sounds like you have wonderful memories of your time together.

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