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Showing posts from July, 2019

Veering Off-Topic And Loving It

My tour for  Ocean of Storms  continued yesterday at Hampton B. Allen Library's Brown Bag Lunch. As with my previous tour events, I talked a little about the book and read some passages from it and my previous book,  Ben and the Art of Lawnmower Maintenance . The Wadesboro audience, however, was equally interested in talking about my other role, as economic development director for the county.  A lot of very exciting things are happening in Wadesboro economically and the group wanted to talk about the new REV Uptown development, economic mobility, uptown parking, and the "Turn Back the Clock" event in September. That's great! When I arrived here three years ago in October, people were far less engaged with issues of the economy and the ongoing efforts to improve  the lives of Ansonians. As we have moved out front and made some visible progress, folks have become far more interested in what's happening and how they can be involved. As I told the audien

A Lazy Afternoon On Sentimental Street

Saw you walking out on Sentimental Street. What you doing out there? Who you trying to be? I had some time after my last book tour stop in Ohio and before my flight back to North Carolina, so I decided to take a sentimental journey to some of the obscure places I used to visit with my family back when I was a kid. Actually the whole tour was something of a sentimental journey, with stops at the Toledo Zoo, Put-In-Bay and the Ida Rupp Public Library, but this last drive hit some very specific and unusual spots that I have a special emotional connection to. The first stop was Toft's Dairy in Sandusky. Toft's has dozens of dairy bar locations now throughout Northwest Ohio, but back in the 70s if you wanted their ice cream you either had to buy it at the grocery store or stop by their main location on Monroe Street. I wasn't surprised to find that they have built a brand new facility a couple of miles away on Venice Road--the original location was showing its age even was

Taking Ohio By Storm

I wrapped up the Ohio leg of my tour for Ocean of Storms Thursday evening at Gathering Volumes Bookstore in Perrysburg. I love small-town independent bookstores and Denise Phillips’ store in what was called the Country Charm Shopping Center back in the day certainly fits that bill. As I was setting up for my event, a man came in with his 5-year-old daughter and asked for a book on sea turtles. Denise walked over to a table and found EXACTLY the right book. That’s the sort of customer service you definitely do not get at Walmart. Thanks to Denise, my event went off without a hitch, and although the audience was a little smaller than at the launch party in Port Clinton is was still a lot of fun! And just to show what a great bookseller she is, I left with a new book, myself, The Marsh Kings Daughter by Karen Dionne.

You Can Go Home Again

I kicked off the tour for my latest book, Ocean of Storms, last night in my hometown of Port Clinton, Ohio. A great group, including several of my PCHS Class of ‘80 classmates, came out to the Ida Rupp Public Library for an hour of reading, humor and discussion. The first story in the book, The Age of Rockets, is set in a factionalized version of Port Clinton on the night of July 4th, 1969. On that night a tremendous storm, an inland hurricane actually, struck the eastern Great Lakes, causing massive damage. The story, which I read two passages from, takes that real life event and runs with it.  I also read a chapter from my previous book, Ben and the Art of Lawnmower Maintenance, my nonfiction semi-memoir which contains several anecdotes about the area and my upbringing there. Just a great night all around.