Archive for the Sarasota Category
When I talk about the great GALs of Florida, I’m not talking about the woman with the purple hat walking her white shiatsu dog clad in booties, a pink skirt, and matching sunglasses. Nor do I speak of women like Lucille Ball who was purported to own a home on Bird Key. No, I’m talking about the men and women who volunteer as child advocates for abused and neglected children. They are Guardian Ad Litems, or GALs and they spend many hours investigating the child’s life to help determine what is the best course of action for the court to take for this child.
I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of new CASA GALs (Court Appointed Special Advocates) in Sarasota, Fl a few days ago. What a delightful experience. They asked great questions and I could hear the compassion and the eagerness in their voices as they started this new chapter in their lives.
Since my book, The Advocate, deals with juvenile court, I left each volunteer with a copy as a thank you for their unselfish act. I wish I could do that for every CASA graduating class, but at least I can say thank you for all the GALs out there who are serving our children. I, for one, appreciate your hard work and dedication. And a special thanks to the 12th Judicial Circuit Guardian Ad Litem Program of Sarasota, DeSoto, and Manatee counties.
If you have any interest in becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate there is lots of information on the CASA website. Check it out. It might be just the thing for you.
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?
I’ve started my “Advocate Across America” tour here in Sarasota, but I say “sort of” because I’m not participating in any public events on this trip. I have one private meeting here. I plan to return later on and attend a number of events including Sarasota Woman’s Club, book clubs, and bookstores. I’ll keep you posted.
Meanwhile, I’m visiting with friends, working on the third book, and getting some much needed R&R before I move on to Columbia, South Carolina for the South Carolina Book Festival. So if you’re in the area, please come out to the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center on February 27th or 28th and stop at the Echelon Press booth and say hello. I’d love to meet you.
Since I just got here I don’t have much to report, but I’ll try to report in from South Carolina and let you know how this part of the trip went.
And if you’ve been to Florida I’d love to hear about your experience. Just comment below.