Posted by: jeannineatkins | April 28, 2010

Borrowed Names Book Launch: Thank You, friends!!!

I feel so lucky to have so many wonderful friends and family members who were able to make it to the launch for Borrowed Names yesterday at Amherst Books
I don’t even know where to start. Cynthia cynthialord drove from Maine, making a stop at Mount Holyoke College to bring her daughter. Jo jbknowles and Cindy cfaughnan came from Vermont, and another LJ friend, Kevin slatts, also made a long trip south. My brother in law, Bruce, drove up from Long Island bearing gorgeous flowers.

My heart felt full to see olds friends like Karen Lederer and Brian Sabel, who I shared an apartment with in college, back when they heard the sound of my electric typewriter set near the window looking over a field and UMass. And so glad to see our colleague there now, Margaret Arsenault, who’s heard all the stories. Joe Bartolomeo, now chair of the English Department, a Renaissance person who generally prefers books that have been around for a few centuries, said he read Borrowed Names in one sitting. And my present life as professor and my past came into happy collision as I saw Carol Fetler, who looked after me at my work-study job at the Massachusetts Review, and Margo Culley, whose course on Lost Women Writers of New England shaped my career.

I spoke and read a bit to an audience including buddies for conference trips or typing in coffee shops, Ellen Wittlinger and Peg Davol, It was great to see writers Burleigh Muten, Susan Garrett, Ann Desmond, and others from the SCBWI group that meets at the Jones Library. There are too many friends to name but all so appreciated, and I’m glad my husband and Cynthia Lord took pictures. My daughter texted from California: Wish I could be there, Mom! And I got so many kind messages from hither and yon. Thank you!

This card was collaged by Ashley Winn, a former student who’s now doing the good work teaching high school. Inside, along with a sweet note, is a picture of a mom cheering a pigtailed girl on a bicycle, and a quote: A daughter’s circle winds wider than her mother’s. It took me a few seconds to realize the quote was from Borrowed Names.

The store sold out of the book and Nat said it was their third best event ever, after a signing by Ralph Nader and a guy who wrote about osteoporosis. I mentioned this when some of us gathered for supper afterwards, and Laura artistq said, “So now you know what you have to do next time.” Yes. So when you see a poem or two about bone density loss tucked in, you’ll know why.

Cynthia Lord and her daughter, Peg Davol, Ellen Wittlinger on the left. I’m on the right by Jo Knowles, Laura Hamor, and Cynthia Faughnan.

And are you dying to know about the cupcakes? Old letters told me that Laura Ingalls Wilder was well known in Missouri for her chocolate frosted gingerbread, and this dessert got a mention in Borrowed Names along with her vinegar pie. But… it never sounded good. Then Jama jamarattigan wrote “What’s good enough for Laura is good enough for me,” and I had to try.

Since this is Massachusetts and another century and some things change, I went for more of a glaze that frosting, and I used a Martha Stewart cupcake recipe. Really, Martha, one whole cup of fresh chopped ginger? But if Laura could cross the prairie in a blizzard to teach ill-behaved children in a one room schoolhouse, I could follow Martha’s directions. The cupcakes definitely have zing, but not so much anyone keeled over. My husband thought they looked a little mushroom-esque. Perhaps that is the Beatrix Potter, who drew thousands, influence. And as for the chocolate? Well. It wasn’t bad. But didn’t our Laura ever have gingerbread with whipped cream?

A final thanks to Peg, Cindy, Ellen, and Jo. I love that Peg is holding Borrowed Names upside-down!

P.S. I’m going to be quiet and go grade papers now, but I just read Cindy’s blog She is generously giving away a signed copy of Borrowed Names, so go there if you’d like to enter her pleasant contest. And you can see a pic of my in-laws entering Amherst Books!



  1. I have heard so many good things about this gathering via LiveJournal. Congratulations! So glad you had a wonderful time.

  2. Congrats on your successful book launch!

  3. I love BORROWED NAMES and I am so happy I was able to come to your book launch!!

  4. I so wish I could have been there, Jeannine, but I was certainly there in spirit. I’m reading BORROWED NAMES right now, and wow, it’s wonderful.
    I’m so happy you had a great turnout. I just know this is but the first of many celebrations for your book.

  5. How wonderful!
    I am greatly anticipating that upcoming bone density poem. 🙂

  6. so happy for you!! (and just a few days away from getting my own copy at last)
    Beth Kephart

  7. Well, if I’d have known you might have beaten Ralph Nader’s record, I’d have hopped a plane! 🙂 So happy for you with everybody who did come–congrats, Jeannine.

  8. Congratulations, Jeannine! It looks like it was a wonderful day–a truly fitting way to launch your lovely book.
    By the way, stop on by my LJ place for another celebration. 🙂

  9. Swoon swoon swoon!
    Now THAT’S a great book launch party! All those wonderful friends — and to think, you almost beat Ralph Nader (bet he didn’t have any mushroom-esque cupcakes at his reading).
    Hooray for you and the wonderful gift of your new book!

  10. Bone density should be worked into all manuscripts to insure a great launch turnout.
    My new goal over my desk… AIM HIGH! write something better than osteoporosis!

  11. Thank you for the dancing Snoopy!

  12. Thanks, Jeni!

  13. Thank you, Laura. It was great to see you. Stirring up just enough trouble.

  14. Melodye, I know you were there in spirit. I’m so glad you are enjoying Borrowed Names!

  15. Now everyone’s going to be writing those! I’d better keep my best tricks off the blogs next time.

  16. Thank you, Beth!

  17. I know you would have, Becky! Thank you.

  18. Lorraine, you are too sweet.

  19. Thanks, Jama. And I bet you’re right about Ralph Nader.

  20. THIS is so cool to see ALL these posts about this event on Live-Journal!
    What a great neighborhood we live in!

  21. It is a fabulous neighborhood! And so nice now and then to see faces beyond our computers, too! Thanks again for making it a great event!

  22. It looked like a lovely party with fabulous people celebrating your incredible book. YAY YOU! wish I could have been there but I was there in spirit. xoxox

  23. It sounds like it was an amazing event. Congrats!

  24. congratulations!!
    I have two copies… one to read more closely as soon as time permits and one that I’ve already shared…. it’s a wonderful book!

  25. This makes me so happy thinking about you surrounded by so many people who love you and your writing, Jeannine. I’m sorry I couldn’t be there in person but as I read over the day’s accounting, my spirit is there.
    (Really? A whole cup of chopped ginger?!)

  26. LOVE IT
    I think this is now one of my very fave quotes: “A daughter’s circle winds wider than her mother’s.”
    And to think I know the author. Your HM piece will be up in a few weeks or less. Congrats on the release of a lovely, lovely book.

  27. And I loved your comment on Cindy’s blog. I’ve got to love a mom who tells her son about “a band call the Beatles that’s going to be on Ed Sullivan.” I remember that show!

  28. I knew there was a very special spirit hovering about. Thank you for sending her over, Debbi!

  29. Thank you!

  30. Jen, leave it to a librarian to get two copies! Thank you.

  31. Thanks, Tracy. It was good to have some LJ representatives, but I think we all carried with us the spirit of the wider community.
    And I did take the plunge chopping up a pretty mammoth ginger root. No other spices, so maybe that’s why it worked? With plenty of butter and molasses.

  32. Re: LOVE IT
    Thank you everything, Bethany!

  33. Congratulations!!!!

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