Saturday, March 9, 2013

Lake Helen Florida Authors Book Fair

I was honored to be invited to participate in the 18th Biennial of Lake Helen's Florida Authors Book Fair. If you have never been to Lake Helen, it is a small historic town just to the north of Cassadega in the Orlando area. The town is filled with beautiful historic homes such as the "Eyebrow House"

Across the street is Hopkins Hall, where the Book Fair was held.

Over two dozen Florida authors were in attendance. It was so much fun meeting new friends and catching up with some of my readers. The Friends of Lake Helen Public Library were fantastic hosts. They fed us breakfast and lunch and they were there attending to our every need throughout the day.

Here we are setting up!

Andre Frattino and Sandra Friend

On the right is Sandra Friend, who is a hiker extraordinaire. I've read several of her books and I am excited to have a signed copy of her Orlando area hiking guide.  I wish I had more time to talk to Sandra because if you follow my blog, you know I love to hike. I wanted to find out if she's hiked in my favorite areas of southern Utah and Arizona. You can find these classic Florida books and more about the hikes around the world that Sandra has completed at her website.

 On the left is Andre Frattino, a great graphic artist and author of The Reaper of St George Street and Lost Souls of Savannah. Not only did I snag his last copy of The Reaper, he took the time to draw me. How cool is that? Andre is a ghosthunter and he told me a story about seeing a Florida Skunk Ape near the Devils Millhopper in Gainesville. I was pretty excited about that because I used to live just down the road from there. Check out some of his art on his site.


Author Lowell Teal

Here is Lowell Teal, my table-mate and partner-in-crime. I had a great time getting to know him. Lowell, disappeared before I was able to buy his books, but I will get them from  his website.
If you enjoy Florida history and epic family stories that span generations (like I do) you will enjoy his "Bath Pond" series. Bath Pond, Fortune's Crossing, Inherited Journey, Promise to Poppy, and Going Home. Whew! Lowell is really cool with a sly sense of humor, so I'm betting that his books are fun to read. If you like A Land Remembered, check these out!

Authors William Ryan (with his wife) and Enid Shomer
It was fun meeting Enid Shomer at breakfast this morning. She is an accomplished poet and fiction writer. She was selling her latest book, The Twelve Rooms of the Nile, an historical imagining of the meeting of Florence Nightingale and Gustav Flaubert. I'm pretty bummed that I didn't get to talk to her more, especially about her poetry.  Enid recently won the 2013 Florida Lifetime Achievement Award and she is on her way to visiting the Governor.

I didn't get to talk with William Ryan much at all, which is a shame because he writes about the Bulow area and Old Kings Road. I love that area. The Fairchild Oak is over there, as well as the Bulow Sugar Mill. Beautiful old Florida area filled with ancient live oaks. I will email him and I hope he will talk to me about it!

Authors Jim Robison and Mary Jane Ryals

Jim Robison is another author I wish I had more time to talk to. He has written many books about central Florida history and natural history. I wanted a copy of Along the Wekiva River but he left before I could pick one up. I was the last speaker of the day, so by the time I made it back to the floor, several folks had left.

There was something about Mary Jane Ryals that was really bugging me at the start of the day. I recognized her book Cookie and Me because it won a Florida Book Award; but that wasn't it. Finally, I saw a small poetry chapbook on the table next to her. You can see the bright orange cover in the photo above. Mary Jane is also a Yellow Jacket Press poet! That is why her name rung a bell. It always cracks me up how you meet someone you should just know and it takes you awhile to figure it out and then you feel like such a tool for not figuring it out immediately. Now, I'm the proud owner of a signed copy of Cookie and Me. On top of that, she is the Poet Laureate of Florida's Big Bend area and now I have a signed copy of her chapbook Music in Arabic. Her husband, Michael Trammell is also a YellowJacket poet. If I had known he was going to be there, I would've brought my copy of his book Our Keen Blue House so he could sign it. Mary Jane and Michael are both really nice, awesome people. I hope to get to know them more.

Author Fred Mitt and Illustrator Jennifer Houdeshell
Jennifer Houdeshell was so enthusiastic and warm today that it was infectious. Just look at her hugging that pink monkey!

I spent some quality time with Fred Mitt at breakfast. What an interesting character. From lawyer to judge to successful author, Fred writes about the Native Americans and how they lived in Florida for centuries. His books, Wekiva Winter, Beyond the River of the Sun, and The Last Timucuan are all award-winning stories. Fred is another on that snuck away on me before I could get a copy of Wekiva Winter. Bah!  He has a replica of the famous Hontoon owl totem in his backyard and I'm determined to see it one day. That owl totem actually makes an appearance in Olivia Brophie Book #2. Fred might not approve because I can't exactly say Olivia's version of the totem is historical. In fact, it is downright scary.  Look for Book #2 in January 2014 to find out what I'm talking about.

Author Lucy Tobias
Lucy Tobias is the author of 50 Great Walks in Florida. The great thing about Lucy is how she was convincing me about the greatness of ebooks. Now, mind you, I'm an IT guy. But I am also not a big fan of reading ebooks. Lucy is very passionate about publishing and she loves to mentor aspiring authors. I actually think she convinced me to be more open-minded about ebooks!

Authors Louise Caccamise and Tom Cavanagh
Authors Jonathon King and Judy Lindquist
Authors Connie Mann and Devon Pearse

Authors Ann Taylor and Chris Coad Taylor

Chris Coad Taylor has written some really interesting mystery/romance books including The Rainbow Murders. Chris is very nice to talk to and I hope I get to work with her again. It turns out, she is also an accomplished photographer!

If you are an author and I missed you from today's event, I am very sorry. I'm sure I missed a few folks in the chaos. Please send me a link to your site and I will add it.

I am very happy with the results from today. I sold out and had to dip into my emergency stash of books. I can't wait for next year.

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