Rowan Reading Rendezvous in Salisbury, NC

Saturday I had the pleasure of attending the Rowan Reading Rendezvous, sponsored by the Friends of the Rowan County Public Library in Salisbury, North Carolina. It was a wonderful event with many North Carolina authors. I got to hear three authors speak and had the opportunity to talk with several others.

A.J. Mayhew spoke about her first novel, The Dry Grass of August. I never tire of hearing her talk about her insights and experiences as a writer. Be on the lookout for the release of her second novel, Tomorrow’s Bread.

Robert Inman spoke about his most recent novel, The Governor’s Lady, as well as some of his experiences. Many of us in the Charlotte area remember him as “Bob” Inman, a news anchor at WBTV before his writing career took off.

Dot Jackson entertained the audience with her humor and storytelling skills. She told the story behind her novel, Refuge, set in Appalachia and shared how difficult it can be to get a book published. Dot Jackson wrote for The Charlotte Observer for many years and was nominated several times for The Pulitzer Prize.

Other authors spoke in the afternoon, but I could not stay any longer. It was a really fun event! I look forward to attending it again next year. Thank you, Friends of the Rowan County Public Library!

Words of encouragement from another author

It was nice to hear from A.J. Mayhew yesterday. A.J. is the author of The Dry Grass of August, a wonderful historical novel set in the segregated South of the mid-20th century. If you haven’t read it, you need to buy a copy. There are characters and scenes from the book that will continue to haunt you long after you finish reading it.

A.J. wrote to congratulate me upon having a book published. She gave me some words of wisdom and encouragement. One thing that she and I share is that we weren’t young when our first books were published. Learning the ins and outs of the ever-changing publishing business at this stage in our lives is a bit challenging. I have learned a lot from A.J. and I value the moral support she gives me.

A.J. is writing her second novel. I will let you know when it is available.

The Dry Grass of August

Today was great fun! I got to hear Anna Jean Mayhew, author of The Dry Grass of August, speak at the public library in Kannapolis, NC. The event was well attended and she answered questions until there were no more. She’s a very entertaining speaker.

Discussions of The Dry Grass of August generate interesting questions and conversations about the days before and during the Civil Rights Movement. Today’s audience was a cross-section of ages and people who grew up in various parts of the United States. Today’s program brought several perspectives to light.

The discussion about race relations combined with A.J.’s talking about her writing and life experiences made for a very enjoyable afternoon.

I’m back!

When I wrote on Christmas Day that I was ending a chapter in my writing life, I didn’t realize that I would completely drift away from my writing blog. I must be the worst blogger in history. I have good intentions of doing better in the future, but I think I’ve said that before.

Author A.J. Mayhew (The Dry Grass of August) gave me some excellent constructive criticism in January. As a result, I am reviewing my Spanish Coin manuscript with a more critical and educated eye. I’m slowly tightening up the dialog and look for word repetition. At the same time, I’m looking at the landscape and physical space in the manuscript and striving to describe the setting so that my future readers can better visualize Nancy Richardson’s home and the lay of the land in the Waxhaws. It’s tedious work, but I do enjoy it when I can set aside a block of uninterrupted time.

I’m also working on a magazine article proposal about the effect the Civil War had on the Rocky River Presbyterian Church congregation. It’s hard to break in as a freelance writer, so wish me luck!

In February, the Rocky River Readers Book Club read Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton. I’d read the book in 2010 but enjoyed reading it again. It’s a compelling story that makes the reader have serious thoughts about our justice system.

Other books I’ve read this year are The Midwife of Venice, by Roberta Rich; Team of Rivals, by Doris Kearns Goodwin; The Shunning, by Beverly Lewis; The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, by Wendy Welch; Fireflies in December, by Jennifer Erin Valent; and My Name is Mary Sutter, by Robin Oliveira. I recommend all of them to you. If you like historical fiction, My Name is Mary Sutter definitely needs to be on your reading list.

I just finished reading Fireflies in December on my Kindle and look forward to reading the sequels.

There are so many things I want to write about and read about, while sewing, quilting, and crocheting to put new items on Etsy to sell. HickoryRidgeCrafts is taking more of my time than writing lately. I’m struggling to strike a balance.

Hearing published authors inspires me

A few weeks ago the Rocky River Readers Book Club had the privilege of having Amy Clipston as our guest speaker. Amy writes Christian Fiction and has found a niche in writing about the Amish. If you get a chance, check out her books.

Sunday night the Rocky River Readers’ guest speaker was Anna Jean Mayhew. The Dry Grass of August, her first novel, was published in 2011 to rave reviews. It follows a 14-year-old white girl in Charlotte in 1954 as she learns first-hand how blacks are treated as second-class citizens. Anna Jean (who writes¬†under the pen name A.J. Mayhew), is working on her second novel. I can’t wait to read it!

Who would have thought a little community book club meeting at a church in a semi-rural area would attract two published authors in one year?