|Nick Valentino & Elizabeth Darvill
A couple of weeks ago I had the good fortune to attend the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, TN. It was my first trip to the festival and my second to Nashville, but the city had changed quite a bit since my last visit some thirty-plus years ago. My schedule didn’t allow for a lot of sightseeing except for a quick trip to see the exterior of the Grand Ole Opry.. I hope to return next year and do a little more.
The festival was small but busy. I met a lot of wonderful people and gained a lot of new readers. I shared a booth with two Steampunk authors, Nick Valentino and Elizabeth Darvill both dressed in their incredible costumes. If you haven’t read any Steampunk you really ought to try it. It’s a fun genre to read. You travel to Victorian times with lots of gadgets operating on steam and clockwork. Nick writes adventure novels. Check out Thomas Riley. Be forewarned if you read Elizabeth’s books. Some of them put a little extra steam in the Steampunk. She writes paranormal romance novels among other things.
The best part of the trip for me, however, was visiting with my niece, Adrienne, her husband, Dustin, and their two girls, Meredith and Amelia. They moved their in May from southern California and I sure do miss them,,,but I’ll be back.
I just returned from the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia, SC. It was by far the best festival yet for so many reasons.
First of all, the people were just wonderful. They were friendly, easy to talk to, open, and provided just plain southern hospitality. I was impressed. It started with my train ride. I met some very interesting people on the ride from Sarasota to Columbia. I had dinner with a couple from Virginia who taught me a lot about trains. Patrick was an avid train rider and proved to be very knowledgeable about the whole train system.
On the train ride I sat next to a delightful woman, named Pamela. She was kind enough to offer me a ride to my hotel when we arrived in Columbia at 4:30 in the morning. To top that off she came to the book festival on Sunday to purchase a copy of “The Advocate.”
Second surprise of the trip was when I received a text from my friend, Sooze, who lives in Tobaccoville, NC. She sent me a message to let me know she was going coming to SC to see me. She arrived about 3:00 p.m. and we met for dinner and an evening of catching up after 21 years of separation. Sooze drove about four hours to see me and then stayed overnight so she could go to the festival the next day and get a second (that’s right, she already had one) copy of my novel. Sooze was my secretary when I first started practicing law…together we grew up. She has no idea what her visit meant to me.
Third surprise: I was standing in the booth and looked out into the aisle to see a man with a very beautiful, young blonde girl standing next to him. They seemed to be staring at me and talking about me. It took a moment before I recognized my best friend, Ron, from law school. The really unusual part about this is that he lives in Seattle, WA. He was there with his daughter who will likely be attending the University of South Carolina next fall. Ron saw that I was there by reading the information on line regarding the book festival and showed up to surprise me. And surprise me he did!
The book festival was a lot of fun. I truly enjoy working with the other Echelon authors. Everyone is so good about helping one another. This time I had the pleasure of working with Marc VunKannon, Sam Morton, Barbara DeShong, Alexis Hart, and our rising Echelon star, Nick Valentino with his debut steampunk novel, “Thomas Riley.” Click on Steampunk to see what it’s all about. I’ve posted a picture of Nick so you can get a glimpse of what he does.
South Carolina was great fun. I’ll be touring around Southern California for a while now but I can’t wait to get back on the road.
So, tell me, do any of you have a South Carolina story you’d like to share?