Speaking at Cottage Grove Library

With the holidays behind us, a new year of book events begins. First stop in 2017 takes me to the public library at my previous hometown, Cottage Grove, Oregon, a small historic town about twenty miles south of Eugene. I’ll be giving a presentation about my books The Shifting Winds and A Place of Her Own in the library’s Shepherd Room on Monday evening, January 23, from 6 to 7:30.

1280-historic-cgThe above photo shows the entrance into Cottage Grove’s historic Main Street, where the community has three bookstores–The Bookmine, Kalapuya Books, and Books on Main–impressive for a town of about 9,800 people. Just two blocks away at 700 E. Gibbs Avenue, on the corner of Gibbs and N. 8th Street, you’ll find the thriving Cottage Grove Public Library, shown below. A very literary community.

1277-cg-libraryFor my presentation I will talk about both of my published books set in the days of Oregon’s early pioneers, while showing a collection of slides related to the stories. I’ll give some background on the history behind the stories, how those books came to be, and about other projects in the works. After a short reading from the latest, Shifting Winds, I’ll open up to Q&A, then sell and sign copies of both books.

This event brings me to a familiar setting. I lived about a block up from the library, on 8th, so it became an easy place to visit and a particularly vital destination during the year my daughter and granddaughter lived with me in Cottage Grove. The librarians all knew my granddaughter Calliope, an active preschooler and lover of books.

So it’s a pleasure to be offering a presentation there. I look forward to it. Thanks to Pete Barrell, City of Cottage Grove Community Services Director, for arranging the event.


Prose at Poetry Night

The Axe & Fiddle, a pub in historic downtown Cottage Grove, offers a change of pace this coming Tuesday night, May 17, when the entertainment turns to words. Poetry Night happens just once a month at this restaurant and public house known for its live music and craft brews, full bar, and locally sourced food, and I’m delighted to be their featured guest. But I won’t be reading poetry–or singing it.

1008.Axe&Fid - closeInstead they have asked me to read from my new historical novel about Oregon’s early days, The Shifting Winds. So in keeping with the night’s theme, I’ll select a couple of short excerpts that present a bit of what might be called poetic prose.

1007.Axe&Fid - longYou’ll find the Axe & Fiddle on Cottage Grove’s historic Main Street on the corner of 7th and Main, next door to Kalapuya Books, the bookstore that presents Poetry Night. The building is shown at right.

The show starts at 7:30 pm and is expected to run until 9:30. They open at 4 pm, so there’s plenty of time to stop in beforehand for dinner or a drink, or both, and the doors are open Tuesdays until midnight.

So what’s poetic prose? To me, it seems to show up in description that paints a scene with a touch of velvet in the words. I’ll read one of those at the event. Then it may be a stretch of the word poetic, but I’d also like to read a segment I’ve never tried for any of my other readings.

1005.Axe&Fid - sideIn this book, although my lead characters are fictional, I also have some real people meandering through the pages. It’s a story with a lot of real history and those people sometimes play their factual parts in the historic scenes.

One of my more colorful real characters is mountain man Joe Meek, and the book includes half a dozen or so stories that Joe actually told to 19th century author Frances Fuller Victor for her 1870 book River of the West about Joe’s life as a fur trapper in the Rockies and his life in western Oregon as a settler. Joe’s speech is a mix of Kentucky, the vernacular of a mountain man, and traces that come from a boy who preferred to play with his father’s slaves rather than go to school. Poetic? Well, he was an inveterate storyteller whose words carry a certain ring.

I’m looking forward to a fun evening at the Axe & Fiddle, a very different venue than I’ve tried before. I’ll have books there for sale, copies of The Shifting Winds and also my previous book, A Place of Her Own. A big thanks to Betsy at Kalapuya Books for the invite.


Spring Art Walk Event

It must be spring! The first Art Walk of the season comes this Friday, April 29, to the charming historic downtown of Cottage Grove. And I’ll be there with my books at The Bookmine from 6 to 8 pm or later. It’s such a great store–a pleasant place to hang out during the Art Walk, or anytime for that matter.

bookmine & bikesThis small Oregon town enjoys the good fortune of having three bookstores within five blocks on Main Street, from The Bookmine at 702 to Kalapuya Books at 637 to Books on Main at 319, and I’m happy to say they all stock my books. They also have a wonderful library a few blocks away (and, yes, my books are there too). A very literary place.

I lived in Cottage Grove for several years before moving to the family farm in Douglas County, and the people of Cottage Grove continue to be supportive. I am most grateful.

The town’s Art Walk happens on the last Friday of the month from April to October. You’ll find food, art, music, a variety of shopping at the local shops, and of course books.

I’ll read a time or two from my new historical novel, The Shifting Winds, and will have that one as well as my first, A Place of Her Own, available for signing. The Shifting Winds is a fictional tale set in a lot of true history. A Place of Her Own is a true story with some creative conjecture. They’re both Oregon Trail stories about strong pioneer women. I’ll be open to informal Q & A as people stop by and to just chatting about the new story and my other work and your own stories.

If you’re in the neighborhood I hope you’ll visit me at The Bookmine.