Sunday, February 28, 2016

Wrap-up Book 'Em

Lumberton, North Carolina

Friday at 6:30 PM the Culinary Arts Department at Robeson Community College treated us authors to a feast (yum!) as we gathered for the Book ‘Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair. 

Student at the Culinary Arts Department
I noticed that, given tables to sit, I didn’t wander about and meet as many writers as I would have, had I been standing like last year. Congratulations to Robeson College's Culinary Arts school for the gastronomic sensation.

Yesterday at 9:00 AM, I arrived at the auditorium, set up my table, taped posters on the wall, and waited for visitors to stream into the hallways. Along with about 70 other authors, I displayed books I’ve written and chatted with passers-by.

Author friend Mike Long joined me on the Historical Fiction panel
At 10:00 AM I had the chance to talk about Historical Fiction on a panel with four other writers. We touched on controversies surrounding the genre, a lively debate. We weighed-in on our definitions of historical fiction, moderated by Steven Byrd. 
NC Poet Laureate Shelby Stephenson

With programs scheduled throughout the day, I was lured away from my display table. First by the presentation of NC Poet Laureate Shelby Stephenson, who not only read from his books but played guitar and sang.

Then I took in a panel discussion about how to make money writing and was reminded of things I already know. If we’re in it for the money, we need to write nonfiction. Shameless self promotion is essential. We have to write what people want to read. All good advice. All of which I either can’t or won’t do. Which means I’ll forget about supporting myself by writing.
Panel on money (l. to rt.) Paula Stiles, Shirley Jones, Jan McCanless, Carin Siegfried
Before heading back to Columbia and home, I sat in on the “Plots and Ideas” panel moderated by Steven Byrd. How other writers get ideas for their stories is always interesting. 
Panel on Plot, Alan Thompson, Chip Putnam, Whitney Grady, Serena Tyndall
At the end of the day, it was mostly me and my books. Visitors thinned out in the afternoon as writers began to pack and head for home. Thanks to Trish Terrell and the Robeson Community College for organizing the Book 'Em event.
Me and my antebellum novels.
Back home Saturday night. The Oscars are on TV tonight (Sunday). I'll be in Chapin at the Columbia Movie Club's Oscar Party, always fun. 

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