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What I’m doing now that my book tour for Bells for Eli is cancelled as a result of Covid-19
By Susan Beckham Zurenda

What does a debut novelist who had 50+ events planned in 8 states between March-Memorial Day to launch her novel, Bells for Eli, do now that the physical book tour was cancelled as a result of Covid-19? I spend some of my time rescheduling events for the hoped-for day when the virus and its consequences will no longer dominate our lives. I also spend time reaching out to readers and reviewers through online venues such as Facebook, Instagram, review blogs and podcasts. One of my undertakings during these days of isolation is partnering with a number of Southern independent bookstores, such as Bookmiser, Ernest and Hadley Booksellers, Books on Broad, Book Exchange, and Buxton Books to conduct a virtual writing workshop titled “Family Stories: Evoking Genuine Emotion in Your Characters.” It is a joy to meet workshop participants on Zoom, discuss the importance of family stories, talk about how to creating genuine emotion in characters, and help others engage in the process of writing those stories.

Bells for EliLike many people in these strange and anxious days, I wake up some mornings discombobulated because I’m out of a normal routine. I have to think what day it is. I’ve found that doing a yoga/Pilates workout in the morning helps me to focus and set a plan for the day. I’m fortunate that instructors at the athletic club I belong to are livestreaming classes. But even if you don’t have ready access to a live instructor, you can find workouts to do at home on You Tube and other online outlets.

My favorite time of the day  at present is after 5:00 pm when I go out on my porch with a glass of wine and read to my heart’s content (or until hunger prevails, and I come inside to make dinner). Though sometimes, my husband makes dinner, so I get to stay on the porch longer! And have time for more reading while I maybe drink a second glass of wine (you think?). Normally, I’m reading books written by our  clients at Magic Time Literary Publicity, but with our authors’ tours currently postponed, I can read whatever I choose (not that I don’t enjoy reading our clients’ books; I certainly do, but it’s nice for this retired English teacher to have more time to indulge).

Books I’ve read during our “shelter in place” days in South Carolina include the novels Call Your Daughter Home  by Deborah Spera (a 5-star in my estimation), The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, and I’m finishing another excellent one,  Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane. There are more books on my to-read list than I can name, but I’ll mention a couple I’m looking forward to: Ann Hite’s new memoir, Roll the Stone Away: A Family’s Legacy of Racism and Abuse, Anne Tyler’s new novel, Redhead by the Side of the Road, and Lee Smith’s upcoming novella, Blue Marlin. When June arrives, I hope we will be with one another again, but I’ll still be reading, and Jill McCorkle’s novel, Hieroglyphics, will be at the top of my list when it’s published on June 9.

Oh, and I forgot to mention:  I have notes underway for a new novel, too.