My cousin Carolyn Compton rode down to Ashland with me yesterday for my reading and signing at Bloomsbury Books, right on Ashland’s charming Main Street. Carolyn taught school in Ashland for many years and welcomed the chance to revisit old haunts. I lived there for a short time in the late 90’s.
Now Carolyn lives just across the river from me on Pleasant Plain on the farm where our fathers grew up. As first cousins Carolyn and I share the same relationship with Martha, and she has been a staunch supporter of my work in writing and marketing the book about our brave ancestress.
We arrived in Ashland early enough in the afternoon to wander Main Street for a while, although the 90 plus temperature encouraged us to dip into a cool restaurant before too long. We enjoyed Italian food and ambled back to the bookstore in time for the event.
A lovely group of people came, a small but enthusiastic gathering. I read a couple of short segments from A Place of Her Own, then sensing those had gone fairly quickly I asked folks if they would like to hear another short segment or chat a bit. A question from the audience sparked a lively chat, and then they asked for more reading. I added an excerpt from the “Oregon Trail” chapter describing the harrowing descent down Laurel Hill on the west side of the Cascade Mountains and received a hearty round of applause–always a pleasure for an author to hear.
Carolyn and I were delighted to see friends from our days in Ashland, Stephanie Bartlett and Mel Ginsberg. Stephanie had helped me with my books when I lived there. I remember a workshop she gave, which provided clues to better writing that I still think about today. And she offered me some particular advice on my book set in Minoan Crete that has seen many reincarnations over time, a book I hope is about ready for print under the current working title, Beyond the Waning Moon. So great to see Stephanie after some sixteen years or so.
An enjoyable day. Thank you, Carolyn, for navigating our way on streets I’d forgotten, for taking the reading picture, for helping carry stuff and setting up a table and pouring wine, but most of all for your good company.