Friendly Gathering at Museum

A friendly gathering came out to the Douglas County Museum for my first Roseburg reading and signing. It’s a lovely venue, and Karen Bratton, Research Librarian and Collections Manager, put together a pleasant setting for this event. Thanks so much, Karen.

People really seemed to enjoy the slide show of photos related to my book The Shifting Winds. My son-in-law Robin Loznak ran that for me. He has been encouraging me to do visuals, and I was glad we had such a fine setup at the museum to show those. Thanks, Robin. It was fun seeing the pictures on the large screen, especially the ones I had taken when backtracking the Oregon Trail with family.

joyce and meThe highlight for me was having Joyce Abdill there, wife of the late George Abdill, the man who’d offered so much information that infused this book. That’s Joyce and me above. George was the first director of this museum where the event was held and my first source for several books I wrote about the pioneer and fur trade era. Joyce shared some stories about George and how they met.

Years ago Joyce also played a part in advancing my writing career, in that she helped me get my first two agents. As a sales rep in the book industry she knew people and helped make those connections. And while those agents did not sell my books, their acceptance of this early work gave me a hope that kept me going until I did finally break through into publication. I very much appreciate Joyce for that and for her encouragement. I was delighted to have her input at this event, not only her prepared remarks but her contributions to the Q & A. And we had a lot of fun chatting. I was glad to introduce her to some of my good friends there.

bear refreshmentsOur room for the event had a historic display of Smokey the Bear items, so as we entered the room we were greeted by a fine specimen of a black bear near the refreshment table. I knew he was there. I had visited a few days before, but I still stopped short when I walked into the room last evening and met him face to face.

But my biggest surprise of the evening was when a couple walked up, and the woman told me she was my roommate our freshman year at Oregon State. She moved to Roseburg a few years ago and had seen news of my books. I hadn’t seen her since we left college.

Robin took the photo of Joyce and me with my camera, and I took the bear shot.


Event Tonight at the Museum

I’ll be in Roseburg tonight at 6:30 for a reading and signing of my new book The Shifting Winds. I’m looking forward to this event at the Douglas County Museum where this book was essentially born.

900.DCMuseumWhen I decided to write the first of several pioneer/fur trade stories some years ago, I went to see the late George Abdill, first director of this museum, looking for information on my subject. As I noted in an earlier post, he was exactly the right guy to talk to. This was a favorite era of his and his knowledge set my course on these books, including The Shifting Winds. He gave me volumes of information on his own, and directed me to many books and other sources of information. My researches led me not only to the Douglas County Library, but to the Multnomah County and Oregon Historical Society libraries in Portland, the Clackamas Historical Society and McLoughlin House in Oregon City, the backroads around Oregon City, up the river to Champoeg, and to the reconstructed Fort Vancouver in Vancouver, Washington.

George profile jpgPhoto courtesy of Douglas County Museum

I will offer a brief tribute to George tonight, and to his wife, Joyce, who plans to be there and say a few words. Joyce also helped me by connecting me with my first two agents, and those agents gave me a sense of hope that one day I would find the breakthrough I needed to get a publisher. I am thankful to Joyce for that and for her continued encouragement.

Also tonight, with the help of my son-in-law Robin Loznak, I’ll present a running slide show of photos related to the story–Oregon Trail shots taken when I traveled east to Kansas City with my daughter and granddaughter and backtracked that harrowing trail, a few shots at Fort Vancouver the characters visit in the story, as well as pictures of the main setting of Oregon City and a couple of the story’s real-life characters, Joe Meek and Dr. John McLoughlin.  Then, just for fun, we’ll show photos from a signing event I had near the beginning of the Oregon Trail in Lexington, Missouri, when a shirttail cousin, reenactor Robbie Maupin, rode in with a band of Rough Riders to visit the event. The man does know how to make an entrance. In that small town that looked like a place out of the past, these riders helped take us back to a time close to the days of The Shifting Winds.

After the tribute to George and Joyce’s remarks, I’ll do a short reading from The Shifting Winds, then sign some books. I will also have copies of my first book, A Place of Her Own. If you purchased one of these books elsewhere and would like them signed, feel free to bring them and I’ll happily sign them too.

The event will last from 6:30 to 8:30, and folks at the museum will be offering refreshments of cookies and coffee. My thanks to Karen Bratton, Research Librarian and Collections Manager, for setting all this up, and to Museum Director Gardner Chappell. The museum seems a perfect venue for this book, which got its start there.

The event is open to the public. Welcome.




Book Launch Party

A wonderful crowd braved the rain to come out to my book launch party at the Elkton ECEC Sunday afternoon. I was surprised and delighted to see so many from my Roseburg writers group. They nearly filled one of the tables. table From left to right (above): Arvilla and Don Newsom, Kari Clark, Heather Villa, Bill Isaac (longtime friend who’s not in the writers group but just happened to sit at this distinguished table), me standing, Wilma Mican, Emily Blakely, President Dianne Carter, and Marlene Daley. Thanks so much for coming.

book5.andrew.musicWe had fantastic guitar music by Andrew Arriaga, Elkton music teacher, here in front of the fur trade display in the ECEC Library, appropriate for my story set in the fur trade days of nineteenth century Oregon. Thank you very much, Andrew. Such great listening!

Book4-1.wineWe had wine with cheese and crackers, the wine compliments of Jim Wood, formerly of Napa Valley, now of Elkton. He offered Elkton wines from Brandborg Winery and Hundredth Valley Winery, as well as selections from the Napa Valley winery that used grapes from the Wood family vineyards there. That’s Jim, beyond the camera’s focal point, standing in the background next to Andrew. Thank you, Jim, for your wonderful generosity and for adding this touch of class to our party.

Book3-1.table.caseyJim enlisted his family to help serve the wine, son Nathan, Nathan’s friend Casey Zarnes, and Jim’s daughter-in-law Sarah Wood, wife of son Chad. Here Casey is chatting with one of my cousins, Karen Maupin Jackson in the striped top, Arvilla Newsom from the writers group in the green coat, and Emily Hunt behind Arvilla. And I love the flowers I found at the Bookmine in Cottage Grove, the deep pink carnations with lavender-colored spray that almost matches my book.

book8.readingThen came the reading from The Shifting Winds, clearly a serious moment in the story here.

book7.signingAnd the signing.

I had a lovely time, and everyone else seemed to enjoy it too.

All the photos are by Robin Loznak, my son-in-law. Thank you, Robin. And thanks also to my daughter, Carisa, for handling the guestbook and helping at the signing table.

Many thanks to Sue Butkus, Site Coordinator at ECEC, for all your help in setting this up, and to Executive Director Marjorie Hammon and to Kris Hendricks, Education Coordinator, for all your help. And a great big thanks to everyone who came and made this such a happy occasion.

NEXT UP: A signing and reading at the fabulous Douglas County Museum in Roseburg Thursday evening, March 10, from 6:30 to 8:30. It will be a very different kind of venue. I’ll do a tribute to George Abdill, the first director of that museum, a man who helped me so much in my research for this book. We’ll also show photos from the Oregon Trail and other historic pictures related to the story–the visuals Robin has been encouraging me to do. So he’ll help with that and I’ll do a reading–a different segment than I read in Elkton.


Book to Launch

My debut historical novel, The Shifting Winds, is about to launch. As you may have seen in the sidebar, I have a couple of book signings scheduled already. The first launch party will be at the Elkton Community Education Center (ECEC) library in Elkton, Oregon, better known as the butterfly place, on Sunday afternoon, March 6, from 2 to 4 pm. Less than two months away now. This is the same place I launched A Place of Her Own two years ago, and everyone there helped me make that a wonderful sendoff for Martha’s story. I look forward to another great beginning this year.


The photo above shows the ECEC library building. Elkton is about seven miles from my home on Martha’s Century Farm.

My next party will be later in the week at the Douglas County Museum in Roseburg, Oregon, Thursday evening, March 10, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. At this event I will offer a tribute to the late George Abdill, former director of the county museum. George offered me considerable information and inspiration for The Shifting Winds, which portrays one of his favorite periods of history when fur traders and pioneers came up against each other on the American frontier of the mid-nineteenth century. And I did have a lot of fun putting this story together.


The Douglas County Museum, shown above, is at the county fairgrounds just south of Roseburg’s downtown.

ShiftingWinds cover jpegI hope many of my local friends will be able to attend one of these opening parties. We’ll have refreshments, readings, signings, and plenty of conversation with book-loving people. In addition to The Shifting Winds, I plan to have copies of A Place of Her Own available.

In the coming days I’ll be adding more events around Oregon and beyond. Those will be listed on the right-hand sidebar as they’re arranged and also on the “Events” page, where you can see not only where we’re going but where we’ve been.

Cheers!!! 🙂