Local authors make good with "Open Before Christmas: Holiday Tales From Six Southern Gals"

Release Date: 11/5/2009

Clarksville, Ark. --- Have you ever wondered if you could publish a book? According to author and journalist Charlene Creech, the answer is probably yes. Along with life-long friend Judy Thornton and four others, Creech is co-author of "Open Before Christmas: Holiday Tales From Six Southern Gals."

Co-Authors Judy Thornton and Charlene Creech

A real page turner – Judy Thornton (left) and Carolyn Creech, two of the co-authors of "Open Before Christmas: Holiday Tales From Six Southern Gals," during a busy book signing on the U of O campus Nov. 4. The book, a collection of short stories and “recipoems,” has sold briskly during their statewide book tour.

“I’d seen a book of Christmas stories mentioned in Southern Living that two women had co-edited, and it made me wonder who I could get to collaborate on a project like that,” said Creech, who appeared with Thornton Nov. 4 for a busy book signing in the Boreham Business Building on the University of the Ozarks campus. “My sister Ann was taking a writing course with a friend. My sister-in-law Linda Moser had written some Christmas stories. And Judy was in the back of my mind from the beginning. We were both born in Clarksville; we were roommates together attending the University of Arkansas. We’ve kept in touch.”

Creech said the group relied on Dan Poynter’s The Self-Publishing Manual: How to Write, Print, and Sell Your Own Book as the guide in getting the book out. “We used it every day,” she said, adding that while the idea originated before Christmas last year, they didn’t get rolling on it until February or so.

Mentoring from her brother-in-law Mel Moser led Creech and the group to Digital Print & Imaging in Little Rock, which produced the volume.

“The hardest part of the whole thing was getting the copyrights,” Creech said. “We ended up having to form a business company, which we did. Six Southern Gals is a limited liability company (LLC).”

She said the group met three times at different locations in Arkansas through the spring and summer, working out details on the book. “We were determined to finish,” she added.

“Some of us weren’t sure we had a story in us, but it turned out we had two or three, plus poems!” Creech said. “And yes, we’ve talked about doing a sequel.” She added that the book, which went to the printer’s in September, has already gone into a 2nd edition and will possibly go into a 3rd.

“Anybody could have done this,” Creech said, “and if we’d had a publisher, they would have done all the paperwork, getting copyrights and contacting bookstores. But we wanted to do it, so we published it ourselves and are promoting it ourselves.”

The book tour, which began in mid-October, will continue into December.