Last September, just as I was relaxing into the routine of the semester, a happy surprise popped up in my inbox.  The subject line: Good News! 

It came from my publisher Melissa Carrigee.  

The message was short and sweet (as I’ve come to expect from Melissa):

“I just got a call and your book has been selected as an International Book Club Choice for The Pulpwood Queens Book Club.”

Wow. That was good news!

On Melissa’s advice, I became a member of the Book Club last summer. But to be honest, I hadn’t had much time to explore their Facebook Page, which seemed very active.

They’d chosen The Kimono Tattoo as their featured “international” book for the month of June, Melissa explained. The official title of the award:

The June International Book of the Month by the Official 2022 International Pulpwood Queen and Timber Guy Book Club Selections

Pulpwood Queens? Timber Guys?  This club looked like fun!  

I searched the internet to learn more.

First of all, the Pulpwood Queens motto is “where TIARAS and CROWNS are mandatory and reading our good books is the ONLY rule!” 

The club is the brainchild of Kathy L. Murphy, an amazing woman who puts the “big” in Texas: big hair, big ideas, big heart. Kathy began the book club in her hair salon: Beauty and the Book in Jefferson, Texas. It was the first and only hair salon that doubled as a bookstore. When you think about it, though, it really makes sense. What better way to spend your time under a hair dryer or waiting for your turn in the chair than to read a good book—and then to talk about it with those around you? 

Kathy L. Murphy
The insuppressible Kathy L. Murphy. Credit: Kathryn Casey. On Wikimedia Commons

In 2000 Kathy decided to launch a book club, one that would be all inclusive. She settled on the name “Pulpwood” because that was the key industry in Jefferson, Texas, and, of course, paper stock is made from pulpwood. The name signaled the playfulness of the group. Kathy’s club does not celebrate snobbery or ostentatious displays of one-upmanship. Her goal is to celebrate writers and to encourage reading. In online book discussions, Kathy often reminds us to be kind. “Support each other. We all need support.”

The club started small (in her May 27, 2020 article on its founding, Texas Lifestyle Magazine columnist Gracie Watt notes that the club initially numbered six.) But before long the club sparked a media sensation and membership grew. Today the club is the largest in North America, maybe even the world, with well over 2000 members and 800 chapters, including 20 in other countries.

Founder Kathy L. Murphy has also evolved. She is herself a published author as well as talented artist. She sponsors the literary magazine, Reading Nation, and runs an annual convention. More information is available on The Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys webpage and Facebook Page.

It is an honor to have The Kimono Tattoo selected as the International Book of the Month for June.  Other International Books of the Month are Veena Rao, The Purple Lotus (January) and The Baseball Widow by Suzanne Kamata, to name just two. 

As author of the International Book for the month of June, I will be invited to share stories about myself and my book on The Pulpwood Queen Presents her Picks Facebook Page during the week of June 6-12. That Tuesday, June 7, I will be the featured speaker on the Tuesday Night Book Club, which is held on ZOOM from 7:00 pm CDT. Join the Facebook group to learn more!

A big thanks to Kathy L. Murphy for her talented leadership and promotion of authors, readers, and the life of books.