A Sunny Saturday at the Book Fest

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

It’s rained buckets today in Kentucky but we had a beautiful spring day yesterday. Couldn’t ask for a nicer day for a belated Easter egg hunt (some of my grandkids got to do that with their other grandmom) or a day to wet that fishing line or to take a walk down the creek to feast your eyes on some newly bloomed wildflowers. That last might be my pick for such a welcome warm sunny day.

But it was also a good day to talk to some readers and writers and sign some of my books. That’s always a favorite day for me and that’s what I got to do at the Southern Kentucky Book Fest on Saturday. I told some of my fellow writers at the reception the night before that nobody would be at the Book Fest because they would all be home mowing their yards or planting flowers or still picking up limbs from the ice storm. All along the road down we saw piles and piles of limbs and trees where the road crews were cleaning the fallen branches out of the right-of-ways.

I’m glad to say I was wrong about the Book Fest and not everybody stayed home to mow his or her yard although one lady did tell me she couldn’t come to my panel discussion because she had to get her yard mowed. Me, I’ve never worried that much about grass. You’d have no trouble believing that if you could see my yard now. I gave that chore over to Darrell when he retired and he mows on his own schedule. But even when I was doing more of the mowing, I would have picked a book fest over mowing any Saturday of the year. It is such a treat to be able to wander through rows and rows of authors all ready to talk to you and tell you about their books.

I’ve been on both sides of the table. I’ve been the wanderer wanting to buy every book in the place, and I’ve been the author hoping my book will catch a shopper’s eye and he or she will want to stop and talk to me for a while. Even better maybe give my book a chance. Or best yet, maybe have already read some of my books and be anxious for the new one. I was fortunate enough to have several of those best yet readers come by my table this year. That’s always fun.

One of the other most fun things besides meeting so many readers is meeting so many writers. I was in a great row of writers. On one side was Elizabeth Emerson Hancock with her memoir about growing up a preacher’s kid called Trespassers Will Be Baptized. Titles that make people smile draw the browsers over to an author’s table and so many of those browsers bought Elizabeth’s book that she sold out before the Book Fest was over. Of course I bought one too and I think the inside is going to be a make-you-smile story too. The book got a starred review in Publishers’ Weekly. Not always an easy accomplishment. So I’m looking forward to reading it.

On my other side was Patti Lacy with her first novel, An Irishwoman’s Tale, based on a true story. This book is also getting great reader reviews on Amazon.com. I didn’t buy it because, well, I couldn’t buy all I wanted yesterday or I would have had to rent a truck to bring them home and then build a room to hold them. Oh, wait, I am building a room! But that’s to hold all my grandbabies. Still a few extra books might fit in there somewhere. Patti’s book looked and sounded very interesting and I’m sure I’ll enjoy reading it when I do get it.

Then down the table was Leisha Kelly who publishes with Revell the same as I do. I came home with one of her signed books, Julia’s Hope, that I’m going to use in one of my book give-aways. I’ll announce what next Wednesday. Got to make up my mind. I bought several books to give away. Leisha and I were on the historical novel panel together and one way she researches for her novels is by going to nursing homes and talking with the people there. She says she wants to keep their stories alive. I did something the same with my book, Angel Sister, that Revell has scheduled to come out in January 2011 about the depression years because I used all the stories my mother and aunts told me about those years to get the feel of the era.

I was also on a panel for Inspirational Fiction for Women with some great writers: Patti Lacy, Virginia Smith, Angela Benson, and duo writers – Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant. We didn’t have many people come to listen, but those who did got a treat. I did too as I enjoyed hearing about the other ladies’ books and writing methods. I bought Angela Benson’s The Amen Sisters, a gritty story of hope and strength that tells it like it is. That one will be in a give-away soon too. I already have my friend, Virginia Smith’s book Age Before Beauty since I did an endorsement for it. That will probably be the first one I give away. All of us had a blast talking about our writing as we shared a lot of laughter. I made some new writing friends and reading friends. I wish I could go to a book fair every month. But if I don’t stay home and do some writing I won’t have any reason to go now, will I?

Baby Raegan is home from the hospital and doing well. So is Mom although it’ll be a while before she’s ready to run any races. Dad’s staying home this week to take care of everybody. He’s great with the kids and with the baby. As soon as I get a chance I’ll get a picture of Raegan posted along with some updated pictures of the twin boys.

Tune in on Wednesday. Who knows what I’ll talk about then! I’m sure I don’t.