Marilyn at Poisoned Pen Press called me yesterday and informed me that The Old Buzzard Had It Coming had arrived from the printer, and I could come and pick up my copies at any time. Resisting the urge to jump right through the phone lines, my husband Don and I drove to Scottsdale later that morning, and I held the first hardback copy of my first novel in my trembling little hand.
The cover art is just a little bit different than on the galleys and this web site. The pictures of the man and the little girl (my great-grandfather and great aunt) have traded locations, and the picture of the four young men (the youth on the far left is my grandfather) has been replaced with a picture of three young women (three more great aunts from the same 1912 family portrait). The Hillerman quote is now on the cover. The landscape at the top and bottom is the same, though sharpened-up a little. The cover artist, J.J. Smith-Moore, got that landscape from a photograph of icicles on a barbed wire fence that I took myself many years ago, along the side of a road in Oklahoma. I feel happiness descend upon me whenever I look at the cover, especially when I see the bold black letters at the top that spell out “Donis Casey”.
While I was there at the press, Marilyn asked me to sign 25-30 copies of the book. I noticed, as I sat there signing, that my signature grew progressively more illegible, but I expect that whoever ends up with these books will realize that I’m simply an eccentric artiste. Apparently, there are collectors who buy signed first editions from unknown authors. I don’t know this for sure, but I’m guessing they are gambling that some day one of these unknowns is going to become famous and they will be in possession of a valuable book. This actually happened to me, quite by accident. In 1989, shortly after I opened my Scottish import gift shop, a young woman came in to browse. We began to talk, and she told me that her first book was about to be published. I congratulated her and took down her name and the book title. I was a little surprised to actually see said book on the shelves a few months later, and bought one, which I read and enjoyed very much. The young lady was Diana Gabaldon and the book was Outlander, a signed first edition of which is worth quite a bit more than I paid for it.