Drumroll please…

When I decided to self-publish my debut novel, In the Fool’s Footsteps, I challenged myself to spend as little money as possible on the venture. That’s partly because I have limited funds and partly because I love a challenge. I have publishing work experience and thus the skills to design and format the digital and hard copy versions. I also expect that my marketing and event planning work experience will come in handy.

Although I have an eye for and some training in page layout, I am smart enough to recognize my own limits. That’s why the cover art is the one area I decided to make a financial investment. I commissioned Matthew Marigold to photograph and design my cover. I just got the first mock-up yesterday and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

Cover art by Matthew Marigold

In the Fool’s Footsteps will be available for purchase on Amazon on June 1, 2012.

Yay! for Canada Post

In the days leading up to our departure for Belize, I realized that I had made a seemingly insignificant mistake that had big ramifications. I was in the office, and one of my coworkers overheard me giving out our postal code. I had one of the digits wrong, he informed me. Oh.

Uh oh.

You may recall that I made my own wedding dress, but I ordered the boys’ clothes online. The groom’s outfit had arrived weeks ago, as had my son’s pants. His shirt, however, still had not arrived. It was coming from Lithuania, so I wasn’t surprised. Until it dawned on me that I very likely provided the wrong postal code. This realization happened on Wednesday. We were leaving first thing the following Monday morning.

Frantically, I called Canada Post.

Using online tracking, I located my package and saw that it had been stalled at the sortation plant for three days before disappearing from the system. The first three people I spoke with were decidedly not helpful. Not quite rude, but certainly dismissive.

And then, I spoke with an angel who opened a ticket for the investigations people and entered every detail I gave her into the system: Incorrect postal code on the package. It’s a shirt for the ring bearer in a wedding. The entire wedding party is boarding a plane Monday. Must be located by Friday or it will be too late. Once item is located, bride willing to pick it up.

She informed me that it would be up to the investigators to determine whether or not the package was important enough to track down. I wish I could remember her name.

The next day, Thursday, I called again. The package still had not been located. More notes were added to the file. By this time, I had resigned myself to cancelling my spa day to make time for sewing a new shirt before our departure. I had already started the design.

You’re probably wondering why I ordered a shirt from Lithuania in the first place. Believe me, I asked myself the same thing. Oddly, it was the only boys linen shirt I could find that looked like a pirate shirt. Every other shirt I saw had a button-down collar and cuffs.

That’s why.

Unexpectedly, I was given the day off on Friday as a wedding gift and to allow me more time for sewing so I wouldn’t have to cancel my spa day. My boss really is a class act.

At home on Friday, the phone rang. It was work – Canada Post wanted me to call. Really?! I called, my file was opened and read back to me: If the bride calls, transfer her to me. The lady I was speaking with unsuccessfully transferred me twice, told me not to hang up whatever I did, then put me through to an investigator in Calgary, of all places.

This lovely woman, whose name I didn’t get, tried three different numbers at the station where my package had been located. Unfortunately, they had closed at 2pm. So much for that. She felt terrible that she couldn’t give me better news and asked me a series of follow-up questions to complete my file, which I answered around the lump in my throat. (Interestingly, when I told her that my back up plan was to sew another shirt, she typed “have another shirt made”.)

An hour later, the phone rang again. It was work wanting to know if they could provide my number to the Canada Post worker who had called in the first place. Yes, please! A few minutes later, I was speaking with Isabel who had seen the note come through on her computer about a desperate bride somewhere in the city and said to herself, ‘Not on my watch!’

Yes, the plant was mostly closed, but she happened to being working late that day anyway. She read the file, bolted away from her computer and out to the loading dock to stop the truck as it was pulling away to take my package to another plant. “I got my little hands dirty,” she told me, explaining that she had gone through every package in that truck until she found mine.

When I got there, I hugged her and held back tears as I thanked her profusely. She didn’t have to do that for me. She could have just shrugged and let the truck go. Thank goodness for sentimental women who appreciate romance and love a wedding. Thank you, Isabel.

The wee pirate