Book Talks

February 2010 – Jimmy the Groundhog from Sun Prairie, Wisconsin predicted only 6 more weeks of winter. Guess we still had to have at least one more blizzard in Green Bay. It hit on 2/09 – the day before my Run at Destruction True Crime/Memoir Book talk to the Learning and Retirement Group (LIR). We are a hardy community and even with our advancing ages… it appeared that everyone was shoveled out. At the Neville Museum, I talked to a packed house of about 130.

Two days later my sights were set on another LIR talk – this time at UW-La Crosse where I’d been the commencement speaker back in 2007. It was appropriate that I’d told the graduates to “journal your life” and that’s what I had now done. 

Of course we all have memories of the school we graduated from – whether high school or college. One of mine was getting hot doughnuts at Mr. D’s with my boyfriend (now husband – Jim) after bar time.  Well… the original shop has closed but a new establishment on the same corner is still selling their doughnut recipe. Valentine’s Day was approaching. Nostalgic  Mr. D’s doughnuts would be the perfect gift for my sweetheart!

I made a sharp turn into the coffee shop’s parking lot, dashed in, purchased a dozen doughnuts, climbed back in my vehicle, while chewing on one, and put my key into the ignition. It wouldn’t turn… my steering wheel was locked! Ah, oh! I had fifteen minutes to my talk and nothing I was doing was working.

Lucky I’m still a runner. I grabbed my computer case, and with temperatures close to zero, jogged the six blocks to the Cartwright Center on the UW-L Campus. I got there in the nick of time, but when I opened my laptop, my heart sunk… my computer wouldn’t come up. (Guess it doesn’t like to jog!) Finally with a number of reboots, I got it working in Safe Mode. Whew… 

The group was great and very interactive… one told me that she had a sister in Green Bay. She called her during the break and discovered that she’d been at that LIR  just two days before. Both sisters ended up buying signed books!

Tomorrow I’m heading to Madison for a Booked for Murder Bookstore talk – more travels, talks and hopefully, not too many more tribulations!


Wisconsin author and long-time runner, Lynda Drews, meets Moms-in-Motion Founder & CEO, Jamie Allison

Back in May, I did a Run at Destruction book talk to a women’s running club that I learned was part of a larger organization called Moms In Motion. In 1999 when Jaime Allison and a  group of other moms started to train together to complete a Santa Barbara, CA triathlon she came up with the idea. Jaime has since transformed this small group into Moms In Motion, a Global Network Connecting Moms through Fitness. (7232 members, in 49 states, in 7 countries.)

Soon after my talk I contacted Jaime. She said she loved to read, so I sent her a copy of my book. By chance my San Francisco Nike Women’s Half Marathon entry had been selected in the random drawing. In October I was heading to California and decided to combine the race weekend with a mini book tour and also meet Jamie. 

I landed in San Francisco on Oct. 14th and for the next three days stayed with friends (both old Fun Run and highschool)  who accompanied me to talks and book signings. (One was to the Empire Running Club.) Then on Sunday I met Sandy and Per Johnsen for dinner, two of the characters in Run at Destruction that have since moved to Seattle.  

The next morning, I gathered with more than 20,000 women in the dark near Union Square. The uphills were very challenging. I even admit that I walked a bit, but I flew running down the other side!  At the finish line I completely forgot to check my time. Could it be that my eyes instead were glued to the buff fireman dressed in a tux who handed me my Tiffany finisher’s necklace?  Unbeknownst to me, I later realized that my Nike Half Marathon number had mistakenly been switched with a friend! Sure, sure… you don’t have to believe me, but I actually ran 30 minutes faster than my official race results! 

After a Bart ride, where I’d embarassingly had to beg money from a stranger, since I was short a dollar, I quickly showered at my friend’s, jumped into my rental car, and headed south to Pebble Beach. For two days I relaxed with another highschool friend before traveling to Santa Barbara. With my GPS I easily located The Boat House on Hendry’s Beach and on the outside eating deck a slim woman was standing with a copy of Run at Destruction in her hands.  I smiled and waved… it had to be Jaime!  The two of us chattered away for a couple of hours, discussing our common interests: running, reading, family, and knitting. And… of course we discussed my book.

I appreciate the comments that Jaime provided to her network of ‘Moms’ following our meeting. She said, “It was such a pleasure to meet and spend time with author, Lynda Drews, last month during her book tour in CA. I’ve never had the experience of reading a book and then having the luxury of discussing it one-on-one! Lucky me! Thank you Lynda. Her new true fatal love triangle book is called Run at Destruction and is soaring on charts. The running community that her story takes place within, is much like ours in that they became like extended family to one another. Unfortunately, when her best friend Pam is ‘murdered’ you can’t help but rally the detective spirit within and try to come to terms with the outcome. It is a story you won’t forget!”

    Run-at-Destruction1 banner In November, I’ll be making a stop, each day, on my Virtual Book Tour for Run at Destruction – Would love to have you stop by and comment!                           …..Lynda Drews 

11/02/09 The Fantasy Pages                                     11/03/09 The Examiner

11/04/09 If Books Could Talk                                    11/05/09 The Writer’s Life

11/06/09 Pump Up Your Book                                 11/09/09 Beth’s Book Review Blog

11/10/09 Book Cover Lovers                                    11/11/09 Divine Caroline

11/12/09 The Book Connection                                11/12/09 Yolanda Renee Podcast

11/13/09 Broowaha                                                      11/16/09 Bookworm with a View

11/18/09 Beyond the Books                                      11/19/09 Hot Author Report

11/20/09 Hot Author Report Guest Blog            11/23/09 My Reading Room

11/27/09 You’ve GOTTA Read This!                      11/25/09 Just Me

11/26/09 The Review From Here                              

11/27/09 Marta’s Meanderings                                    11/27/09 Crazy for Books

Lynda Drews and Beezie MacNeil at Munising, MI Bruce MacNeil Memorial Run

Lynda Drews and Beezie MacNeil at Munising, MI Bruce MacNeil Memorial Run

Before publishing my first book – Run at Destruction: A True Fatal Love Triangle, my best friend Beezie (who’s a character in the book) said, “Lynda, you should include a Reading Group Guide.”

That, in itself, was not a novel idea, but it was, within my genre of True Crime and also Sports/Running!  So… I contacted my publisher, Tracy Ertl, from TitleTown and we agreed to take Beezie’s advice – fourteen questions were included.  

Since my book’s release on August 7, 2009, I’ve participated in five book club discussions and have twelve more scheduled. My book revolves around our close-knit Green Bay Running family and the tragic and mysterious death of my best friend Pam. Participating in each of these book clubs, I see the same kind of bond that I’ve experienced with my women running friends. Many of the book clubs have met for decades and have suffered their own tragic losses among their members. 

Yesterday’s talk was a good example. I met with the Belles, Books, and Candor Book Club in Oshkosh, WI. There were about fifteen members present, but others were missed who had passed away.

Subset of Belles, Books, and Candor Book Club

Subset of Belles, Books, and Candor Book Club

 What’s great about book clubs is that their members’ ages span many generations.

The first thing that Laurie, the moderator did, was to do a verdict poll, as if the Belles were on my book’s  jury panel. Very interesting… from the outset, the jury would’ve been hung! I’m told, that’s what makes my book so fascinating – the scenario leading to Pam’s death is still not crystal clear.  

Discussion continued, focusing on the complex crime as members reviewed the evidence, debating why Pam’s death was either a terrible accident, suicide, negligent homicide, or pre-meditated murder. Additional topics flowed: dependency issues, infidelity issues, media influence, and the judicial  system.  One member had even received therapy from Dr. Ralph Baker, the psychiatrist that had been the expert witness for the Defense back in 1984! 

At the meeting’s end, I signed each member’s book, while remarking how honored I’d felt to be included in their welcoming sisterhood. What a wonderful experience… meeting new women that, through my written word, had grown to know and care about me, and more importantly, Pam.  

The caring faces behind the sterile purchase statistics from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, etc. are gradually being filled in…

Yesterday I arrived at the Fox11 Station, nervously pressing the building buzzer. A young woman opened the door and quickly led me down a hall. WeDW-Event-Calendar-icon waited near a lit overlead sign that said the Good Day Wisconsin Show was in progess.  As the light went off, I entered the studio. Being my second television interview in less than one week, you’d think this would be a piece of cake, but not so… I was situated in a chair by a fake fireplace, waiting and watching. To my left was a mock-up kitchen for the Living with Amy Show and to my right were the news and weather personalities, Rachel Manek and Pete Petoniak. Viewers were being informed about a herd of galloping horses that had escaped onto a highway where one horse had even attempted  to jump over a moving car, smashing its windshield. 

Rachel Manek of Fox11 Good Day Wisconsin

Rachel Manek of Fox11 Good Day Wisconsin

At the break,  Rachel joined me and whispered that the station had found actual footage of Pam’s April 7, 1984 death and the subsequent February 1985 sentening hearing.  I gulped hearing that! The camera then focused our way… We were live… You can see I was a bit nervous… Oh well, I’m only human!   

Last Friday… up at 4a.m… Nostalgic drive from Green Bay to Milwaukee (didn’t I retire from IBM so I wouldn’t need to keep this schedule?) At least now I had a GPS that informed me where to make the proper U-turn on Capital Drive, to arrive at my destination- mbvideoplayerTODAY’S WTMJ-NBC AFFILIATE . I walked in the door for my first ever TV appearance about my book Run at Destruction on the Morning Blend. After the executive producer told me she’d been reading it and couldn’t put it down, I was ushered into the wings of the set where I watched Alison de Castro, surrounded by an on-stage garden of summer plants, do an interview with a woman from Stein’s Garden and Gifts. (All the while – I worried that my pollen allergies might kick-in!) During the commercial break, I took my seat on a couch facing the cameras. (With tissue now tucked under my leg- just in case.) Alison and a friendly substitute hostess  for Molly Fay put me immediately at ease before the live action began… 

For the next 60 days you can watch me discuss my book complete with my eye rolls!

Next on the agenda were stops at three B&N in the Milwaukee area to sign books, then I was off to West Bend to drop off some at Fireside Books & Gifts(doing a signing there on 9/19) and finally I arrived in my hometown of Waukesha.

My mom, Dana, who is still lively at eighty continues to reside there. She gave me a

1970 South Campus Grads - Merry, Anne, Sandy, Kathy, and me

1970 South Campus Grads - Merry, Anne, Sandy, Kathy, and me

 tour of the rejuvenated downtown that has certainly changed since my husband, Jim Drews, and I graduated from Waukesha South in 1970! With my Run at Destruction banner flapping in the breeze outside Martha Merrell’s Bookstore– I positioned myself at a table with cases of books and pen in hand, ready to sign for two consecutive nights during the Freeman Friday Night Live event and the Saturday Night Art Crawl. It was definitely a reunion of sorts as I met old friends of my parents, parents of my friends, fellow Waukesha inhabitants that liked a home-town girl (whomever she was), runners from Badgerland Striders, and of course my old high-school classmates. (I guess some of the latter did remember the former Lynda Esselstyn according to the Spring City Chronicle!)  In addition to this classmate – four other girlfriends I hadn’t seen for 10 years, showed up and I was able to capture the moment!  Sixty books later, with a backache, and sore right hand, I met the four in a new downtown drinking establishment…  sending me back to nostolgia again – just where I started.

Another talk and book signing for Run at Destruction this week!

I got a warm welcome from the PaceSetters. This running club has been in

Kathy Jankowski, the PaceSetters President with Me

Kathy Jankowski, the PaceSetters President with Me

existence for 25 years – both promoting and celebrating health in the Fox Valley of Wisconsin. 

As I explained how I got endorsements from the Best Selling True Crime Author, Ann Rule, and from Sean Hartnett, a correspondent for Track  & Field News the supportive running folks gave me applause. Then as I read excerpts from the first chapter about my best friend, Pam, that continues to bring a sting to my eyes, I watched the audience’s amazing response – they  became mesmerized.

P1020073To detail the extensive research that I conducted – required to tell the right story- I provided an anecdote: In the Brown County Courthouse, for four months, I scanned three massive boxes of court records into my laptop, plugging parking meters every two hours. While doing this tedious job, I listened to books on tape. One day, by mistake, the earphones became unplugged, so I kept turning up the tape player’s volume…. Someone finally tapped me on the shoulder and informed me that the entire office was listening to a suggestive sex scene. Boy – was I embarrassed!

Following my talk – I took extensive Q&A before signing and selling books to nearly everyone that attended.  I’ve always known that runners are special – this talk certainly reconfirmed it!

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