|Click image to view portfolio by Michael Cope Photography|
I held a book release party at The Poe Museum in Richmond, VA on Sunday, August 20th with entertainment including historical interpreter Debbie Phillips as Elmira Royster Shelton, Poe's first and last fiancée along with poetry recitations by Dean Knight which were interpreted by Miako Villanueva. Guests could take a self-guided tour of The Poe Museum and have their photo taken by photographer Michael Cope. Here is the portfolio of those pictures.
The museum is gorgeous! The shrine and memorial garden incorporate aspects of Poe’s life and works and were inspired by his poem “To One in Paradise.” I also shared that if black cats crossed their path, pet them! They're the museum cats, Edgar and Pluto!
I invited friends from various time periods of my life so the folks in the enchanted garden on that day and time were some of the coolest humans and my favorites. It was overwhelming. The enchanted garden, where I have stood, sat, and walked through for so many events over so many decades, including presentations that I have given for the museum and where I helped weed during a gardening event, was the very place that held us all. Some people don't believe in magic. I have a hard time not believing in it on days like that.
This was the biggest event that I have ever thrown for myself. It felt extravagant. Even my friend, Southern noir crime fiction writer S. A. Cosby, an Anthony Award-winning writer from Southeastern, Virginia attended. I wrote about our connection previously here.
I asked guests to dress in their Poe-attire finest whatever that meant to them and to remember that it was going to be a hot day. I explained part of my outfit in an earlier post. I was the newspaper article about the scene in Westminster Burying Ground after the Poe Toaster visited and left his tributes. My tiny hat was by Sew Truly Me. I adore her hats! The custom design included a small Victorian style top hat with a gold raven and small rose buttons to represent the roses that were left at Poe's grave by the Toaster. I also modified a small Martell cognac bottle keychain into a brooch; again, to represent the tokens left by the Toaster. My necklaces included a cemetery gate, a small raven, and a lily of the valley with a skull inside a crystal coffin-shaped stone. My black shirt was sparkly to match the stars in the sky and my dress was black to show the darkest hours the Toaster would visit the grave. I had a newspaper print purse and even made my only newspaper article about the outfit.
The amazing bouquets (I'm still dying about how gorgeous the flowers were!) were by Flowers by Zoie. The signature on her website reads, "storytelling through floral designs..." She completely understood my vision. The flowers included purple and wine Anemones with black centers, Black Magic Roses, (they are every bit as lovely as I could have imagined!), Black Callas, lavender roses, Fiddleheads! and deep wine ranunculus. She also made the loveliest corsage for me to wear.
The caterer was Groovin' Gourmets.
And, the tables, linens, and cute tent were from Party Perfect.
If I look cranky, I assure it that it is just my resting face. I was very happy.