Last Saturday I was lucky enough to celebrate the release of my short story collection, The Shadows Behind, with a party at my house. Here are photos from the event!
I am super big on party favors. I always tell myself I’m not going to do them, but then I always do–when I was a kid, the TRULY magical part of any friend’s party–as well as my own–was the goody bag. I decided to print photos of some of the “monsters” in the book, and this way, each guest would get to “take a monster home.”
A close-up of the party favors. The green photo behind the sign is kudzu overtaking a home–the kudzu is the monster in the story “Under the Kudzu.” To the right is a piranha with a cigarette in his mouth–you’ll learn more about that monster in the tale “Attempted Delivery.”
Copies of THE SHADOWS BEHIND (if you’re wondering, I did sell out of all of these, which was a total surprise, actually), surrounded by the guest book and a few photos of the monsters readers will meet in the stories in the book.
These little “baby hand” cookies Becca made are my favorites. Totally creepy!
These hand cookies were pretty cool, too. I was completely surprised by these–I had thought, from the photo Becca sent me, that she was only making the square book cover cookies. This was a thrill to see!
My sister-in-law, Becca, made these lovely cookies for the event. She is very talented and spent HOURS making them. She is amazing!
I always put candy around where people will be sitting at my parties. Great use of accoutrements!
The basic theme of this party, from the beginning, was black and white. I bought white table cloths and decided to dress them up with hearts cut from black oak tag, symbolizing, as in many of the stories, that monsters can come from inside us. I crossed this with palms to represent the tropical foliage present in the Congo, which is where Conrad’s HEART OF DARKNESS is set. Some of the major themes in HEART OF DARKNESS match themes in my stories. I don’t know. It sounds like a mess, but in my mind, it worked.
Decoration for the bar table.
We had quite the spread! When I throw larger parties like this, I cater from my local supermarket, Shop Rite. Their food is AWESOME. In the foreground is what they called a Mezze Platter, although for the purposes of clarity I called it Mediterranean Delight on the placecard.
The bar table.
At 17, my cat Poe has certainly seen his share of parties! Photo by Heather Tierney.
My husband, Nathan, co-wrote the short story “Deconstructing Fireflies” with me, and he signed each copy of the book on the story’s opening page. Here, he takes a moment to flip through a copy; he hadn’t had a chance yet to really look at the books.
My cousin Maryanne was the model for the protagonist in “Attempted Delivery,” so her party favor was a photo of the “monster” from that story.
My cousin, sister and I were messing around taking photos before everyone arrived. Don’t ask me what my sister is trying to do. I think it’s supposed to be some kind of elaborate photo bomb.
Me and my friend Heather from college (at URI). We have known each other nearly 30 years, and she came all the way from Baltimore to celebrate with me.
The cake–done by ShopRite’s bakery–was not only gorgeous, it was delicious. I ordered yellow cake with cream cheese frosting filing and vanilla buttercream icing. I left their talented baker to her own devices (other than just “please put the book cover on the cake”). She said she read the title blurb from writer John Palisano and decided the cake needed roses. Just proof that when you’re dealing with artists, you really shouldn’t micromanage–leave it to the experts!
Me and my friends Laurel and Max. I have known them since my earliest days volunteering at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk in 2001.
Left, my childhood friend Kristina; right, my sister, Missie.
From left, my friend Jen from my days in the Pencils! Writer’s Workshop, and my friends Michele and Diane from work.
The kitchen was jumpin’.
Members of my writer’s group (known as Crow’s Nest): Rob, Lauren (affectionately referred to as L2) and Greg.
Me and Pam. She has been my pharmacist for years but we became friends.
Me and Tom. Tom and I met in community theatre, and we did put together a script for a short film which we hope we can make someday.
My friends Rob and Jen from high school.
From left, Adam, Jen, and Rob…friends of mine from high school.
From left, Nikki, Diane, Michele, and Dona. I worked with Diane and Michele at my day job, Nikki and I work at the same place now, and Dona and I volunteer together at the gates at the Bridgewater Fair.
Me and Bruce. Bruce and I met in 2001, when I started volunteering at the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk.
Tracey Gillen and I have known each other since high school. She throws a kick-ass Christmas party every year.
Our neighbors! Kay, Tony, and Steve.
Adam Boneker and I were the high school reporters for the New Milford Times. We were 16 years old when we had our first jobs in a news room.
Maria and Donny chill out on the couch.
Me with my sister, Missie.
Me and my niece, Andi. She is an artist.
THE CHAMPAGNE TOAST
Normally, I pick one of the craziest wine charms for my party glass…something like “tipsy” or “obstreperous.” But I was happy girl on that day, so I chose “light-hearted.” Actually, what’s in the glass is diet ginger ale. I didn’t have any alcohol until after the evening’s reading.
My friend Tom has become my right-hand man at many of my parties. Here, he opens champagne for the toast, and I’m teasing him about hitting the track lighting with the cork (we have a dent in the kitchen ceiling from this happening once, although I don’t remember who it was that did it). I said, “Don’t hit my track lighting — you break it, you buy it!” Photo by Jen Connic.
Tom is being very serious about pouring champagne for the toast.
THE READING AND SIGNING
Stacey, from Books and Boos Press, gives a speech before I read.
Photo by Maria Giannone.
I’m signing a friend’s copy of THE SHADOWS BEHIND, but what I love most about this photo, really, is that Stacey is in it with me. We wanted a photo together, but the night just got so crazy we didn’t have the chance. So this is just about the only photo of us together available. Photo by Tom Libonate.
I said in an earlier post I hated to butcher this gorgeous cake. I actually closed my eyes to make the first cut!
Nathan and I barely saw each other all night, so finally, after almost everyone was gone, we got a moment. Photo by Adam Boneker.
Post-party breakfast for me, Heather, and Kristina: eggs, sausage, potatoes and fruit. The house was actually in amazing shape.
A ghost story writer who still sleeps with the lights on, Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s fiction has appeared in many magazines and anthologies; her traditionally published books include a short story collection, THE SHADOWS BEHIND. She was the recipient of three Norman Mailer Writers Colony Residencies and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College. She serves as co-host of the DARK DISCUSSIONS podcast, as founding editor of the dark literary journal 34 ORCHARD, and is a member of both the New England Horror Writers and the Horror Writers Association. Follow her adventures at kristipetersenschoonover.com.
Looks like you had an AWESOME launch party. I’m thrilled for you and can’t wait to check out “Shadows”! Some day we need to get together!! xo
We DID!! It was amazing. And YES, please, let’s get together to have coffee!!