To My First Thousand


Hello, precious First Thousand, and welcome back! Cetus Finalis is launched! The launch the launch. I want to thank all of you again for making it such a stimulating and special event. The smiles and riles, the slanting sun, the crisp libations, the warm hearts, and vibrant art – it was a charmed day. We laughed like trains.

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David Gill himself showed up and sat by my side; better than a birthday party. The inimitable Raffael Abramson and lovely Stephanie Shyn were first on the scene, with a passion for spreading the word, and last to part ways, even getting me home after dinner; nothin’ but love, y’all!

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Alex Streczyn-Woods and Rachel Dossey contributed invaluable input on t-shirt designs and made me feel like an artist on the town! Gabe and Elsa Westray warmed me like the sun when they stopped by to get their long-awaited copy. Katie Renz confessed her romance with whales, and commended the conservationist theme in the novel. Justin Dossey approved the entrepreneurial spirit of the affair. Nowell and Sadie Valeri visited their subtle and rich artistic sense upon our discussions. The charismatic Chris Dickerson and talented Kundan Budwain brought their welcome blessings and some information which may lead to a Booksmith appearance. Chris Vukicevich bought a book for his darling mother. The pleasure hammer really dropped when none other than badasses Danna Sweidan and Sam Scott arrived, driving more than a hundred miles to surprise me in my element. Thank you Jessica Steger for keeping the secret! 😀 Sweet Kendra Wall and spicy Maryanne Diaz bought me a parting shot while Raffael brought the car around. Thank you to Mark Allshouse, Beth Mickelson, Sally Thompson, and Lindee Frankel for coming to the table; especially to you Lindee, for booking me at Finnegan’s.

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Everyone fawned over Lucie’s gorgeous cover, and every single whale-printed item she made for the launch sold out before the shirts did. For those of you who are interested in more Cetus Finalis whale stationery, accessories, and wall prints, stay tuned! The talented and gracious Lucie Hall is in her workshop!

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We rambled on into the evening. Lucie and I’s plan to have a quiet dinner together after the event and digest the experience was happily dashed. Thanks to cider, bourbon, and puffinstuff, a bistro dinner for 2 morphed into a party of 6 at Rosie’s Cantina; margarita pitchers, extra chips and salsa, and the last rootin’ tootin’ table to leave. A special thank you to Kristin Reinsberg for designating herself as the driver. We all got home safe and sound, packed to the brim with gratitude.

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Hello Dear Readers, Friends, and Family!

The fans turned out!I am thrilled as a bumblebee at a flower farm to announce that the TJ & Tosc San Francisco launch was a resounding success by every criterion I imagined! You purchased every copy of TJ & Tosc at my table and every copy at the local book stores. (The bookstores all reordered double quantities!) You bought tons of shirts! You pre ordered shirts and hoodies! You generated a buzz about TJ & Tosc both in the bookstores and online, splashing the beautiful silver and turquoise TJ & Tosc logo across the city and internet. I could not have done it without you! There is no way to do it without you! I am proud as a father, my darlings!

Sunny Leslie!

You are the first thousand. The indispensable open-hearted nucleus of people who are buying and sharing TJ & Tosc because you care for me and trust me to tell you a good story. You want to see me succeed. And – goodness gracious! – there are one thousand of you! My first 1,000 is a very emotional event for me. Way to keep the remote handy...I feel that you one thousand readers and fans are the spearhead of enthusiasm and faith which will guide TJ & Tosc, and subsequent books by Suhail Rafidi, to the bullseye of success. The things you are already saying about me and this novel will attract the next 10,000! Keep at it!

Doesn't my mom look perfect!Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! for the spectacular love you’ve shown me, by way of purchases, subscriptions, preorders, messages of support, advice, laughter, help, advocacy, and inspiration. Reaching out and connecting with you is a regal pleasure, interspersed among the hermitage of writing and rewriting. And rerewriting.

An Auspicious Beginning

Sitting pretty at Green Apple Books...

Sitting pretty at Green Apple Books… (Photo by James Mansente)

In the lap of luxury... (Photo and lap courtesy of Sarah M.)

In the lap of luxury… (Photo and lap courtesy of Sarah Matacheesecake!)

From the time I started writing TJ & Tosc until the day it went on sale took five years. When the novel was released, I imagined that I would feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment, but that was not the case. Instead, while smiling at the shiny new novel with the gorgeous cover (by Lara J Designs – the way to GO!) fresh from the distributor (The Book Patch. LOVE ‘em!), I got a distinct sense that, now, the ante was upped. The amount of work still ahead of me fluttered like a banner of challenge. It’s one thing to be published, to be distinguished from everyone who has not written a book. But now I feel that I must distinguish myself from everyone who has written a book. And that means a lot more work. But with support like yours, that work is becoming more of a joy every day!

What else is in store for TJ & Tosc?

The answer has parts, so I will leave you with a teaser, a revealing list of exciting developments for you to speculate on until next time. I want to see TJ & Tosc incarnated in as many media as possible, and we’re working hard to get it there.

Rodney Kong!

Rodney Kong!

  • Merchandise
  • Audiobook
  • Sequel
  • Rock Opera
  • Graphic Novel
  • Video Game
  • Movies

Some of the popular TJ & Tosc swag...

Snugglin' up on The Yell-Tron's quilt. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Brandon)

Snugglin’ up on The Yell-Tron’s quilt. (Photo courtesy of Danielle Brandon)

I will elaborate on these incarnations in subsequent letters. Every once in a while – often enough that you won’t forget me and seldom enough to remain interesting – I’ll send out a personal missive to you, my esteemed first thousand. I’ll share thoughts, winnow possibilities, and keep you apprised of any public appearances, tours, and releases. Thank you for taking interest and starting this conversation with me. Please keep reaching out the way you do, my dear first thousand!

“Reaching out and connecting with you is a regal pleasure, interspersed among the hermitage of writing and rewriting.”

If you are or know an artist who may be interested in working on an incarnation of TJ & Tosc, please let me know. I will be happy to hear from you. The beauty of this stage in my career is that I still read and answer my own messages, no matter what platform. I love the interchange. One day I will not be able to keep up. But I pledge to you, as my audience grows, you will be set apart and given special observance, for having the spirit to be my first thousand.

THANK YOU for reading! Reading RULES!

Patronize your local, independent bookstore! (Picture submitted by Michelle Ho Lo)

Patronize your local, independent bookstore! (Photo courtesy of Michelle Ho Lo)

2 Responses to To My First Thousand

  1. Douglas R. Jones says:

    The power of a 10 minute conversation. Having not read a real book in 35 years, You inspired me
    enough to purchase and read into the second chapter. Enjoying the optimism of fixing our present
    day ozone layer so I can attend 2013 burning man. Looking forward to hearing Your Prog Rock Opera ! Will be checking out Your suggestion for Sting’s “The Soul Cages”
    From yesterday’s conversation @ Tres Agaves.

    • Thanks for the awesome message, Douglas! It was a pleasure to meet you at Tres and unpack some ideas about art and creativity. Thanks for picking up a copy of TJ & Tosc! Enjoy the ride, sir! See you next time.

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