It starts with falling down. In the snow. And not being able to get up.

Art Hritus. Ben Gay. Johnny Walker. Three men I don’t want to meet up with these days.

Of course I wasn’t wearing boots. The mittens had been left on the kitchen counter. I didn’t even have a hat. The wind and the snow came up out of the open expanse of fields and pasture as soon as I got out of town on Hwy 47. I was headed for Weston, Wisconsin, where essayist, Nancy Runner was having a book launch event.

Driving 35 mph in a 65 mph zone out in the country during a total white-out. How funny would it be if I get stuck and have to walk for help? Seriously, the snow and wind made driving conditions extreme. I pulled over at the next road crossing and turned around and headed home.

I met Nancy Runner in Neenah at the Wisconsin Writers Association conference. In the fall. When it was sunny and warm. She had attended one of the sessions where I gave a presentation about publishing.

With the charm of Angela Lansbury and the wit of Erma Bombeck, Nancy told me about her idea for a book, Early Birds Flock Together: Joys, Sorrows—and Laughs—in Senior Living. She wanted to know where she might find a publisher and how to go about it. We had a great conversation and I enjoyed looking at her writing portfolio.

Nancy hired Swenson Book Development for a few hours of ad hoc consultations on publishing options and I completed an editorial review of sample chapters and her book proposal. Her writing made me laugh out loud and I could hear a familiar and comforting Midwestern voice.

Runner decided to publish with Orange Hat Publishing. They invited her submission when she met them at a conference and she sent them her query and proposal. I had learned about Orange Hat Publishing the first year I presented at Lakefly Writers conference in Oshkosh. In full disclosure, I do not receive a commission or finder’s fee from any publishers and instead help authors understand what publishing options they have and which ones I can recommend as well as avoid; and why.

Orange Hat Publishing is a family-owned hybrid independent book publisher here in Wisconsin and they offer a good alternative to self-publishing. Why? They provide books with high production values, have access to distributors, and can provide a level of marketing support to individual titles that many traditional publishers no longer offer all authors.

Last Friday I had been invited to Nancy Runner’s book launch event and I missed it. Drats to blinding snow. But Nancy sent me pictures of the successful event where she had more than fifty people at her event, sold nearly twice as many copies with advance orders. And her publisher, Orange Hat, sent beautiful flowers. It’s rewarding to see a successful book launch and that takes quality collaboration between a great author and a great publishing partner.

You might enjoy reading Early Birds Flock Together. The first chapter hooked me with her description of that moment when she slipped and fell in deep snow while trying to fill the bird feeder. Been there. Done that.

You might laugh, but it’s not all fun and games getting old. When my doctor starts talking about knee replacement, it’s not a reason to throw a party. Nancy Runner’s book is an honest look at getting older.

Forget which shopping cart is yours in the grocery store or mistake a funeral luncheon for the church fish-fry?  Nancy Runner shares stories that make me laugh at myself a little bit more. And make “getting old” a little less dreadful.

Leave a comment below for a chance to win a free copy of Nancy Runner’s new book, Early Birds Flock Together. Tell me why you want to read it? Or who you plan to give it to?

15 thoughts on “Early Birds Flock Together

  1. The “launch” was terrific; sorry you missed it. I already bought five of Nancy’s books for me, family, and friends. I read some of it during her creative days, but all of her completed book once published, and read all in one day. It is one of the most delightful, interesting and honest books read by me in a long time. I highly recommend it to anyone, not just those who are thinking of downsizing or moving. She is truly a superb writer!

  2. I’ve known Nancy for many years, and so admire her for starting a new career as a writer. I look forward to reading her new book even if I don’t win.

  3. Am looking forward to reading Nancy Runner’s new book, “Early Birds Flock Together.” I happen to live in the senior apartment complex that Nancy lives in and have had the pleasure of reading one of her other books which I thoroughly enjoyed.

  4. I braved the snow and it took longer than normal, but made the book launch.

    This book will make you laugh at times and think at others. It is well written and I found it hard to put down. My favorite line is, “I’m a college graduate and your a mattress pad.” I could picture Nancy, hands on her hips as she said it.

    Nancy did a great job telling what life is like of a lot of seniors, with humor that provides a lite easy read.
    What her next book will be?

  5. There’s wit, wisdom and a gentle faith woven into all of Nancy’s writings. We laugh along with her and are helped in the process to face our own human frailties.

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