Chapman author to take part in Independent Bookstore Day event in Abilene | News

Chapman-based author Valerie Shipman, who goes by the pen name Josephyna Ries, will take part in a book signing event on Independent Bookstore Day April 30 at Abilene’s Rivendell bookstore.

Shipman describes her book, the Dragonfly and the Prince as a paranormal science fiction romance novel.

“It’s been described as being a love-at-first-sight (novel),” she said.

Shipman has planned several sequels.

She has been writing for about four years but didn’t get serious about it until about a year ago. Shipman has a friend who also writes. Shipman contacted her when Shipman began experiencing recurring dreams about the characters who would eventually make it into her book of her.

“She told me that I’m a writer (and) I need to write,” she said.

Shipman took her friend’s words to heart.

“She advised me to continue to write and then advised me to join some online guilds for romance writers,” she said.

One stipulation for taking part in those guilds is that writers must prove that they are, in fact, romance writers. So Shipman sent in some of her writing from her to provide her credentials from her. Indy publishers began contacting her shortly after.

She decided to publish her first book with Page Publishers.

Shipman began the publishing process in March of 2021 and by June she sent the first manuscript. The manuscript was more than 400,000 words long so her publisher asked her to cut it down into four books, which she did.

“It was like Solomon cutting the baby,” Shipman said. “It cut it up into four sequels that build on each other.”

The Dragonfly and the Prince is the first book, which came out in December 2021. The second will come out later this year, likely in May or June.

“I’ve enjoyed being able to share my work,” Shipman said. “I really enjoy putting the words down. The characters come alive for me. When I pick up a book, it’s like entering a new world and I want to delve into that.”

The editing process has sometimes been a challenge when editors want to change fundamental aspects of her writing, but she said she usually takes the editors’ advice.

Shipman said she spends a great deal of time at Abilene’s bookstore, not just as a writer but as a voracious reader of paranormal romance novels.

“I love the small-town atmosphere,” she said.

Shipman had been looking around for a date to have a book signing and decided on Independent Bookstore Day April 30. She has taken part in one other book signing event, at the Chapman Public Library. She also sells them at two Chapman businesses.

“I’m really looking forward to meeting people who would like to read the book, discussing with them what they think would be their most favorite parts of any book,” Shipman said.

Manager of the bookstore Lisa Smegal looks forward to the event as well.

She hopes it will bring in new people and is happy to have a local writer in the store.

“I’m excited to have any local author take part in things, if they want to,” Smegal said.

She believes it’s important to promote literacy in the community.

“It’s important for communities to have something that offers literacy to the community,” Smegal said. “Bookstores, libraries. I think that every community should have a bookstore and a library. And I think we do a good job of working together to try and promote literacy and everything.”


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