The successful launch of Susan Carey's More Than Merely Eyes Can See

The event on June 28th was a significant gathering to celebrate the launch of Susan Carey's book, "More than Merely Eyes Can See."

Dr. Melissa-Sue John

Here's a detailed recap of the event:

Event Location and Atmosphere: The event took place at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford (BGCHon Sigourney Street, specifically in the Music and Arts room. There was a palpable sense of excitement and camaraderie among the 70+ guests who attended. 
Dr. John and her daughter and business partner, Olivia Lauren John, got to BGCH around 9:30am.
Olivia Lauren John
Amanda Steffen, the Marketing & Communications Specialist, responsible for sharing the impact of BGCH through multimedia storytelling and managing BGCH’s social media channels 
Amanda Steffen Marketing & Communications Specialist
and Lisa Pierce, the Executive Assistant to the President and CEO of BGCH greeted them.
Amanda gave Dr. John and Olivia a tour of the BGCH's facilities. It was very impressive- boasting administrative offices, classrooms, art studios, game design, game rooms, gym, and of course, a library.

Shortly after Susan Carey assisted by her friend, Ron arrived with books in tow. Olivia Lauren helped to set up the books. 
Olivia Lauren John Lauren Simone Publishing House 
Catering: The event was catered by Taste of Decadence, adding to the festive atmosphere. Tieasha Gayle, the owner and operator, provided cookies, crackers and cheese, and refreshments. 
Speakers and Program Highlights
Opening Remarks: Samuel S. Gray, Jr., the President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford, provided a historical background of the club (the first club was founded in Hartford in 1860). 

He also expressed gratitude to Susan Carey, when he announced that proceeds from the book sales would benefit the club directly.
Reading from the Book: Susan Carey herself read a synopsis from her memoir, likely sharing a poignant excerpt with the audience. She thanked many people for their efforts in making the book a reality including her dear friends, Heidi, Nancy, Louisa, and Leslie Hammond, friends who drove all the way from New Jersey. 
Guest Speakers
Pastor Rick Kremer: Pastor Rick entered seminary after college, but family demands steered him to a successful career in the insurance business. He managed his work and dedicated his time to philanthropy, became a community organizer and has been at Grace Lutheran for over 18 years. uniting faith and community. He acknowledged Susan's dedication in completing the book and shared his perspective on its importance.
Pastor Rick Kremer
Pastor Darrell: Darrell’s and Nancy’s commitment to serve dinner every Friday for a year grew out of the discernment with Pastor Eva and the listening committee. He spoke about the impact of the memoirs discussed in the book.
Bernie Michel: Bernie shared insights about his contributions, particularly the 8x10 black and white portraits on the book cover.
Bernie Michel Bernie Michel
Leslie Kriesel: Leslie is a professional editor from Columbia Press with experience in both scholarly and trade book publishing, with extensive freelance experience developing and copyediting scholars’ manuscripts as well as other print and online materials. In addition, she represented Pastor Eva, who couldn't attend, and read her words.
 Leslie Kreisel
Memoir Contributor: Lee Whittemore mentioned in the memoir spoke, reflecting on his experience being a diner at Grace Lutheran Church.
Acknowledgments: Susan Carey acknowledged the individuals mentioned in her book, noting some were given pseudonyms for privacy, while others were mentioned by their real names, some of whom had passed away.
Closing RemarksJust as Sam Gray began the program with a brief history of the Boys & Girls Clubs, Dr. John gave a brief history of her publishing company, telling the audience that representation in literature of people from all walks of life influences their dreams of what they can achieve. Dr. John discussed how the title of book encapsulated her life and the life of everyone sitting in the audience. She said when people hear a name, like Melissa-Sue, or a title, like Dr. Melissa-Sue John, or job titles (Professor, Publisher), they make assumptions based on appearance and prejudge what people are - or aren't - capable of. 
Dr. John mentioned the significance of meeting Susan Carey, when she was just launching her adult imprint and that Susan's book was the first adult title in their publishing company's catalog. It was the perfect bookend - opening and closing - to the event. 
More than Merely Eyes Can See Susan Carey Book Launch
Conclusion: Susan Carey concluded the program with a final statement about rejection and constructive criticism. "Learning from critiques is a good attitude to cultivate, that there are bumps in the road because we need to adjust ourselves to smooth out the path, and that with persistence, you will find your way. Thanks be to God!" Guests mingled, chatted, grabbed refreshments, and took photos before departing. In attendance were other aspiring authors (Sunshine and Diane Smith photographed below)
and Officer Jim Barrett, a Homeless Outreach Officer in Hartford.
Her friend, Elsa was kind to assist with book sales, which were $20 cash.

This event not only celebrated Susan Carey's achievement as an author but also highlighted the community support and the charitable aspect tied to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hartford through the book sales. It was a heartfelt gathering filled with appreciation, personal stories, and reflections in the memoir.

If you missed the event, you can still order a copy of the book from Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Your support matters to the author, publisher, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Hartford. After reading it, sign into Amazon and please leave a review.

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  • Shivonne Mathison on

    Congratulations on a successful launch! Very excited for you Dr. Melissa John, cheers 🥂 to you!

  • Nancy Urban on

    While I had been involved in reading parts of the book while Sue was working on it. today I read the first chapter and did not wat to put it down. thank you sue and all those who helped to bring this about. At the launch, even though we were sitting and listening for an hour and a half, the room was filled with joy, love, excitment for this project and a feeling of true “community”

  • Leslie Kriesel on

    Great post—so nicely describes the many highlights of the event. It was an honor and a pleasure to be there and celebrate the book! Thank you for all you’ve done and continue to do on behalf of this and other valuable projects.

    (Please note the correct spelling of my last name: Kriesel.)

  • Cheryl G. on

    Congratulations on a successful launch! Susan’s book will surely be eye opening and we’ll read.

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