The Hills are Blooming… with Books!

It’s Spring… the time when a young girl’s thoughts turn to books. Okay, so I’m not a young girl. And my thoughts are always on books. But that doesn’t change the fact that I had an absolutely wonderful day at the annual Books in Bloom festival in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

For those of you not familiar with Books in Bloom, it is an event made possible by the Carroll and Madison Library System with the help of area sponsors. Held every May on the grounds of the historic Crescent Hotel—billed as “America’s most haunted hotel”—this event features some of America’s most popular authors, as well as newly discovered local talent.

Because there are so many authors in attendance, it is impossible to hear all of their presentations, but they are available to chat with visitors and sign books when not otherwise involved. Even so, I didn’t have a chance to engage with everyone.

20180520_152752The first new-to-me author I encountered this year is local talent from Arkansas, and she has already earned a place among my favorite authors. Amanda McKinney writes what she dubs “sexy mysteries”, and the emphasis is on mystery. I started with her book The Storm, and was immediately hooked and contemplating the rest of her books. Engaging characters and plots full of twists make this author one to watch.

Deborah Crombie, author of the British mysteries featuring Duncan Kincade and Gemma James, was also at this year’s event. As a lover of detective stories, I have no idea how I’ve overlooked her for so long, but I’m happy to report I had her autograph the first book in that series, A Share in Death, and look forward to following these two in their adventures. Who would have imagined a Texas gal would write British mysteries?20180520_153003

For those wanting nonfiction books, David Welky was among this year’s speakers. I picked up a copy of his latest book, A Wretched and Precarious Situation: In Search of the Last Arctic Frontier which chronicles an early 20th century Arctic expedition. Having recently A1LB4ENwU0L__UX250_finished In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides, I’m excited to get this book as a companion to that story.

My husband was especially excited to meet Marcus Sakey. Since I’ve apparently been living under a rock for the past several years, this is someone whose work I wasn’t familiar 20180520_153318with. I’m told he has several award-winning books, and some movie deals. I really must pay more attention to the world around me. Maybe after I finish reading Afterlife. Which I’m told will also be a movie someday soon.

So if you have the chance next May, make the journey to Books in Bloom–I’ll be there, and there is no telling who we might meet!

Introducing J C Crumpton — Ninetoes Loves Books

-What is your name? JC Crumpton -What genre do you write in? My most common answer to that question is whichever one I can get paid in. But my favorites are the ones wherein I most often read: science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. -What drew you to this genre? What I love about all three of […]

via Introducing J C Crumpton — Ninetoes Loves Books

Introducing J C Crumpton — Ninetoes Loves Books

-What is your name? JC Crumpton -What genre do you write in? My most common answer to that question is whichever one I can get paid in. But my favorites are the ones wherein I most often read: science-fiction, fantasy, and horror. -What drew you to this genre? What I love about all three of […]

via Introducing J C Crumpton — Ninetoes Loves Books

Hope and Dreams in Eureka Springs

You have written a book. Or you want to write a book. Or you have a (in your humble opinion) fantastic idea for a book. What do you do now? If you were in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, the second weekend of October, it’s likely you found yourself at the annual Ozark Creative Writers Conference (OCW). This year was the first time I have attended this event, and I freely admit it was not what I expected. That is not to say I was disappointed though.

Let me say, I was misled by my own prejudices. In my mind Eureka Springs is a sleepy little town in the Ozarks, stumbled upon by the occasional visitor. In reality, this is far from true. Thousands of tourists find their way there year, many of them repeat visitors, and the town has been a tourist destination for over 100 years. A part of my mind was convinced I would encounter a handful of locals who wanted to attend some workshops because they have been told by well-meaning friends and family members that they are creative geniuses.

The first thing I found out is that this event is a BIG DEAL. Many more attendees than I had envisioned, many of them coming from long distances after having planned this trip for months. I quickly discovered the “Ozark” in the title refers to the setting of the conference, not the home locality of the attendees. And while I’m sure most, if not all, of the people in attendance were “creative”, not all were writers, myself included.

Looking at the conference agenda, I saw many interesting programs and authors listed. Fortunately, I was able to meet a few of the authors. Dusty Richards was there with his wife and a table full of his western novels for sale. And I had the chance to meet Johnny D. Boggs, also an author of western novels, and purchased three of his books, which he kindly signed for me. Oghma’s own Darrel Sparkman signed a copy of his novel Hallowed Ground for me as well. I love signed books (can you tell?) and have a designated area of my bookshelves for them.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend any of the programs, since my boss had me chained (literally? figuratively?) to my chair in the area known as Publisher’s Row. In all fairness to Casey, since I was there as a representative of Oghma Creative Media, that is where I was supposed to be. I’m sure the speakers offered many hints and tips to the attendees, although there were no actual “workshops” that I am aware of at this event.

What is Publisher’s Row, you ask? At OCW, Publisher’s Row is an area set aside where authors (both previously published and aspiring) can meet with publishers and pitch their ideas in a comfortable setting. Publishers display a selection of books on the tables, and authors can browse the tables and see examples of books from each publisher to get an idea of who might be interested in what they have to sell. Authors can see what genres each company publishes, how the books look and feel, the attractiveness of the cover art, the overall quality of the finished products. After all, if you’re writing regency romances, you don’t want to try to sell your ideas to a company that only publishes westerns. Each publisher has sign-up sheets so writers can pick a day and time during the conference to give their pitch, and publishers can let writers know exactly what they are interested in accepting, as well as providing submission guidelines.

As one of the representatives for Oghma, I was lucky enough to hear many of the ideas pitched to our company, and to meet some wonderful people in the process. Some had finished manuscripts; some had ideas and were looking for guidance. Some had published elsewhere, some had self-published their books. They were younger, older, married, or single. Genres included children’s books, romance, mysteries, non-fiction, science fiction, fantasy, and westerns.

What was the one thing everyone had in common? Hopes and dreams. They came hoping someone would listen to their ideas, hoping a stranger would say their idea/book/writing was wonderful. Hoping they would find someone to believe in them. They came dreaming of holding a book in their hand, seeing their name on the cover, presenting their stories to the world.  And with any luck, I’ll be actively helping some of those dreams come true.