It’s been a rush of a week up on the hill. We ventured forth to the great Dahlonega, Ga literary festival where we visited with old festival friends Sharon Barak, Director, Jackie C. Cooper, Laura Knorr, Mark Braught, and William Rawlings and met fast, new friends and talents Jon Turk, Patrick Michael Finn, Jeffery Stepekoff and more. God bless festival directors, their boards, supporters and volunteers for giving writers such a beautiful way to step out into the world to meet each other, new readers and a take a walk around a lovely square. We ate at our favorite places discovered on previous trips including the Creole Restaurant, the Oyster Bar, and Shenanigans Irish Pub. We had the pleasure of staying in the very, histocal bed and breakfast. Took in a very special late night with Jon Turk discussing his latest, THE RAVEN’S GIFT and other wild adventures at sea and wrapped things up Sunday morning with a brunch overlooking the river followed by special panels that day. As always, we never wanted to leave this picturesque city. (The national Christmas Tree will be making an appearence through the city in a few weeks on it’s way to the capitol as it was discovered in the beautiful mountains nearby.)
A wonderful odd note was when I took a break to find a coffee on the upstairs porch of the Crimson Moon, pulled out a book, read and occasionally glanced up at the town square and the people there. Once I thought I had glimpsed a writer/reviewer/and amazing photographer, Jennifer Carter from the Atlanta area. We had met months ago at my book signing at Foxtale books. But surely not, eh? Well, after I finished said coffee, and closed the last page of HOME, by Marilynne Robinson with a sigh, I wandered the square and discovered none other than Jennifer sitting with coffee, journal, and camera. We were able to visit for a few minutes and she later sent me this picture where she had captured me unknowingly as she was snapping photos. She has the great SouthernGirlSouthernWorld.com blog and the incredible photos at JWanderlust.com . Way to go Jennifer. Thanks for the surprise show of Author in repose.
After such a wonderful road trip it was difficult to come home and immediately attend the last author event at Davis Kidd booksellers in Nashville. Fannie Flagg was good medicine for the night though as she told stories Flagg style and signed her latest until the cows came home. In this photo – Author Susan Gregg Gilmore who drove over from Chattanooga for the event, DK manager Beverly Perry, Author and #1 Fannie Flagg fan in the world, Lisa Patton, and myself. We mugged for the camera with smiles but sad hearts. (Missing from the photo is author friend JT Ellison who had to leave to get back to deadlines and pack for a research to Scotland moment before.) But our hearts were there with the booksellers and in the aisles as times have shifted in our world here. Author friend PT Cruther did a great job summarizing the closing and you can read her article here.
In the meantime -thankfulness for readers everywhere, for the continuation of stories, for the magical moments we share in life I wish you a Peaceful, warm, and loving Thanksgiving. And please remember when sitting down to tables everywhere, invite a stranger, a friend, an odd man out, anyone who might otherwise be keeping sadly to their own. It’s a week for sharing in all our bountiful blessings.