My First Authorfest

Ms. Jacqueline E. Smith
Ms. Jacqueline E. Smith

SoSI have been waiting, despite my excitement , to write about my first Authorfest, which was held in Denison, Texas and put together by James Peercy and his wife, Claudette.

This was a Friday through Saturday afternoon event in which authors have a chance to show off their books, read to a group of folks and generally get out and about among other people.  I just reread that sentence. It makes it sound like authors hole up somewhere with their computers in the dark, writing away! Well, I digress a bit.

The part that was most fun was seeing everyone dressed up as a character in their book. Because my wonderful illustrator imagined me with pink hair, it was for this event! I’ve had a lot of compliments, comments and stares with it. I must admit I like it!

I’ve been trying to sort out what Authorfest was for me. It was a venue to sell books, of course, but, I think , for me, it was a lot more. It was a chance to hang out with other authors and since I’m the newbie, that’s kind of important. I wanted to make a point of watching more than talking and learning more than anything. That, I did. I learned what to do, different ways to do it and things I won’t be doing.

I was and am very honored to have been included with this particular group of writers- Jacqueline E. Smith, Amber Jerome- Norregard, Alan Martin, Debbie Reece, K.A.DaVur, Natalie Clountz Bauman, John M. Moody and others. It is not very easy to be the newbie, the beginner- but this group of people made it easier for me. I appreciated all the advice and the teaching.

Many thanks to James and Claudette Peercy for everything and especially for including me at the last minute. I am looking forward to  next year’s event with more books and  the utilization of ideas I came away with!

Before I sign off, I’ll shar some photos with you.

Me and my character! Pink hair rocks!
Me and my character! Pink hair rocks!
James Peercy, courtesy of Tim Malek
James Peercy, courtesy of Tim Malek
Jack learns to Grill setup
Jack learns to Grill setup

The Quiet is Killing Me

My husband asked this morning if he wanted to come home and read this evening without the television on would that be okay with me.
“Sure!” I responded happily, finding myself wishing we didn’t have tv at times. But, I didn’t know I was going to be in a chatty mood.

I’m the kid who got “talks too much” on each and every report card each and every year. Year in and year out. No matter how many spankings I got for it, no matter how many times my dad told me I was in school to learn, not to talk, I still talked. It just happened. My mouth would open and the words poured out. What could I do?

My poor husband has probably been trying to read the same sentence over and over. That’s so frustrating. At least I know it is for me. But, my Stephen has the added problem of the dogs-every dog we have barking. Then, I’m hollering at the dogs to hush. All the while trying to produce the quiet he deserves. The poor man doesn’t ask for much.

I am, then, trying to concentrate on writing. After I finish this brief missive, I’ll go on to write more of my book,”Tales from the Ass Farmer’s Wife.” Oh heck! now he’s rattling on. I guess he gave up after all this- that’s what usually happens here! What a hoot!

someone like my husband trying to read their Bible too!
someone like my husband trying to read their Bible too!

Dream Weaver, Dream Reader

Always filled with imagination and wonder about every little thing, my grandmother thought it a good idea to teach me to read when I was only three. By doing so, she opened a whole new world for me.  Let me backtrack a bit and give you some history regarding this decision.

My parents owned a beauty shop (a whole ‘nother story) and while my sister was six years older than me,she had to attend school- leaving me with my grandmother while everyone was busy going about their day. My grandmother, “Mama” and I had so much fun and I never thought I loved anyone more than her. We played outside, we watched “As the World Turns” after lunch, she gardened, I rode my faithful ol’ red stick pony around the yard- we had fun. Once, while gardening, she fell right down on her backside. “Don’t tell your daddy,” she’d said. The minute he came home from work, I blurted out, “Mama fell in the yard today,”- touching off a bevy of worry for my dad. To say I was a busy body child ( and adult), capable of creating all kinds of havoc would be an understatement. It must have been after I locked Mama out of the house because she was going to spank me when she decided to teach me something that might occupy me for at least an hour.

I can remember sitting at the hearth while Mama taught me the words. She taught me to read with my finger- you know, following each word with my index finger as though it was a word magnet. Maybe not then, maybe not just as I was learning the words, but later, those words began dancing off the page and into my vivid imagination. Oh, how I loved to read.

In later years, after Mama had gone to live with my aunt Lorene, it was sometimes all my mother could do to get me to go outside and play. Many was the day I would curl up in Mama’s rocking chair, beginning a book, only for my mom to urge me to go outside and “get some sun.” And many was the day I begged to read “only  3 more chapters” because I was almost finished.

And now, although I still love reading, the love of words tumble out of my head and onto paper (in the old days), and now, on , my computer screen.

So, if I had my “druthers”, it would be my grandmother whom I would want to read my posts most of all. It is because of her I kept out of trouble by reading (well, not all trouble, don’tcha know!) and in reading, being able to express myself in the written word the way I sometimes cannot orally. Thanks Mama!

Mama with my granddaddy and sister, Barbie. Mama was the light of my life.
Mama with my granddaddy and sister, Barbie. Mama was the light of my life.

Comic Books- Man, Times are a Changin’ – Just my opinion.

I just read a news report- news, mind you, that Archie Andrews, of Archie, Veronica, Betty and Reggie fame, in the comic books, don’tcha know, is fixing to be killed off by a bullet meant for his gay friend , Kevin. Really? It seems the comic book wants to use real social issues as a way to show Archie’s character. Archie would do anything for his friends and this is one way to prove it. Gimme a break.

I read Archie comic books all the time as a kid- a teenager. A comic book was fun to read, an escape of sorts. Some kids have never even heard of a comic book, but I have to let it slip that even one of my sons read the Archie Digest (pronounced dee guest in his little world). 

As a teenager, most of the girls I knew who read Archie comics would chose either Betty or Veronica as the favorite girl- the one she would most like to be . For me, it was hard to choose because Veronica was the epitome of every girl’s dream- dark, mysterious, sexy , beautiful. But, Betty was really the girl next door. She had that innocent quality about her that Veronica didn’t really have. Veronica’s family had money and she knew how to get her way. Betty, though, just seemed real. Believable. Then there were the guys in the comic. Archie, the do-gooder – red hair and freckles. Not really my type, but I could deal. Jughead, the goof, in my opinion. Not the kind of guy I liked. Reggie, the bratty, wealthy dude- too stuffy. These were the characters I knew well and loved anyway. I could dissolve into their world in an instant. It was a comic book, for heaven’s sake.

I thought comic books were supposed to be- fun, entertaining, easily absorbed, something to do for a bit. I can’t imagine reading a comic book that also makes a social statement. I do not formally condone escape from the real world, but don’t you think it’s nice , just every now and then, to get away. I mean, after all, if you watch the news, it is gloom, doom, war, decay, shootings, protests etc and so on ad nauseum. 

I am not going to get involved with my feelings on being gay or any other social issue other than to say, I do not believe people should have to hear or read about or otherwise be exposed to them every minute of every day. I  know me. I would not read a comic book in which it addressed social issues. Just my take on what they were in my day and what they should be in this day and age. 

I love living in the real world with real issues , but escaping said world is something we all should do at one time or another. 

Veronica, Archie and Betty

I’m going to jump on my horse from behind, yelling, “Hi Ho Licorice, Away!!!”