Traveler's Rest

Leftovers on Loan

Lately, I have been going to the public library here in Travelers Rest. It is excellent. And I've been checking out books. It's free! Who would have known? Anyway, it is wonderful, but I have noticed something as I plow through novels by Robert B. Parker and James Lee Burke. It is this: Some people who borrow books at the library have poor hygiene. It is a rare thing when I go more than three or four pages without coming across residue of some kind. I am positive I have found blood smears, mucous from at least two places in the human body, and food stains (frequently chocolate). If possible, I use a thumbnail to dislodge those deposits which can be dislodged. Then I sweep away the debris and continue. If the blemish is a stain, I just keep reading. After all, I am not a dilettante. Is this a general phenomenon, or does it apply only to those who read Parker and Burke? Knowing that there is no answer available, I will not let poor hygiene from previous readers deter me from enjoying a good story.

Far be it from me to participate in such sacrilege. When I read, I immediately blot out my wine and beer spills, and make sure to remove most of the pork rind crumbs, Cheese Puffs dust, and bacon bits before I return the book. I have standards.


Contented Carenens

Friday evening at the Travelers Rest outdoor amphitheater with the Blue Ridge in the distance, we settled in after joining friends who saved us a place to hear the talented and exuberant Jacob Johnson offer up a free concert. Soft summer breezes stirred the hair of Southern girls of all ages playing and flirting and leaning on boyfriends and husbands, citrusy perfumes wafting lightly in the air. Children rolled down the hill like living logs, and bigger boys tossed a football back and forth.
And I wondered how life could get much better on a June twilight with my bride at my side and Jacob on the stage; poet, singer, songwriter, and guitar virtuoso beyond anything I've ever heard or seen before. He loves to perform, and we love to be his audience. His enthusiasm and talent defined the evening as a very good one.
Later, when the show was over, we packed up our folding chairs and walked back to the car and drove home where a big glass of wine and a joyful puppy awaited us. Strolling up to the Carenen Cottage in the dark, we heard tree frogs and crickets providing background music, and a big bullfrog down by the pond sang solo, his bellows cracking through the darkness, making us smile.
Such a blessing to be content.

Local artist? Why yes, I am.

Travelers Rest, South Carolina, is a beautiful little village just north of Greenville. There is a thriving arts community, several wonderful restaurants, and My Sister's Store. My Sister's Store is a bookstore where authors sometimes have book signings. I had never done a book signing because I never had a book to sign. I didn't know where to begin. So, with a copy of my novel, Signs of Struggle, in hand, I pumped up my courage and approached Pam, one of the sisters, and asked if they would be willing to host a book signing for me.

I expected rejection. What I got was, "Yes, we'd love to host a book signing! We just love local authors!"

The signing was on Saturday, October 27th during an "Arts on the Trail" festival, with artisans, chefs, and half-naked runners all over the place. Lisa and I showed up, set up our table, and waited to see if anyone wanted to buy a book.

And you know what? I sold a bunch of books, including one to my niece and her husband from Dahlonega, Georgia, 3 1/2 hours' drive away, surprising us with a "drop-in" visit. Thanks, Kelly and Dan, you made my day. And you know what else? Pam asked me to sign and leave more books to be prominently displayed in the store.

Thankful? Yes. Grateful? Yes. Humbled? Of course. So it was a great day, and I had my first book signing done. Now, my Book Concierge, Rowe Carenen Copeland, has slated me for readings/signings in Greenville;  Athens, Georgia; and Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

I could get used to this.