On the Way to the 2018 Savannah Book Festival

What Happened on my way to the 2018 Savannah Book Festival

Image of 2018 SBF Macon Cherry Blossom Festival On my way to the 2018 Savannah Book Festival. It was Thursday, February 15th, I was driving down from Atlanta, Georgia to go volunteer at the festival when I received an invitation to meet my cousin.  My cousin, Kaye Hlavaty, lives in Macon, Georgia.  We decided since I was driving right through her home town it’d be awful not to stop and have lunch.  I decided I could meet and be back on the road in an hour and a half. No big deal.

I met her at the car dealership where she took her car for a routine checkup.  We went to a Mexican restaurant around the corner and began to catch up on family stuff.  She asked how my book was coming along when she said, “Dang, I should have taken you to the emporium, Travis Jean.”

Image of 2018 SBF Macon Travis Jean Store FrontShe informed me the owner, Scott Mitchell, was about to start a Friday night social at the store, and was known to have author’s attend to sign their books during the social gathering.  This is when she said, “Heck, let’s go meet him. I’ll introduce you to him and tell him you’re an author.  Maybe he’ll want you to attend one of the events.”

Off we went.  It was a wonderful store smack in the middle of downtown Macon on Cherry Street. You must go see this place.  It is well worth the visit. Bring your wallet, and purse.  You’ll want to buy something. I met Scott and we had a good visit. It was hard to leave there and not purchase a painting I saw of piano keys.  I was once again reminded my cousin, Kaye Hlavaty, knows everyone in Macon, and they, her. She’s a wonderful, delightful lady, though I would hate to be her enemy. I left Macon for Savannah several hours later.

Image of 2018 SBF St Simond Goulds Inlet East Beach Friday morning, I woke and needed to make a much overdue research trip to St. Simons Island. It is only about an hour south of Savannah. I have a high school friend who invited me down anytime, so I jumped in my car and off I went.

It was my first time on the island. I loved it. A bit expensive, but looking is free-ish. I spent the day there walking around and just experiencing the island life.

Image of 2018 SBF St Simons GJ Ford BookshopBefore I left I paid a visit to GJ Ford Bookshop.  My high school friend told me to inquire with the owner if I could do a book signing there. Hence, I met one of the managers and gave her my details.  Even though the signing didn’t work out I did get to see one of the best independent bookstores I’ve ever visited.  It is one of those bookstores where you can feel the spirit of the authors there mingling among the books with you.

Finally, it was Saturday. The day of the 2018 Savannah Book Festival, and my day to volunteer. I went to the Baptist Church in Chippawe Square and did my volunteering duty. I met some wonderful people there and found a new author I like, Michael Tolkin. Before I left the district I stumbled upon the most exciting toilets I’ve seen in a while. Weird, I know.

I have included a few of my pictures from what happened on the way to the Savannah Book Festival. I hope you enjoy them.



Featured Author

Featured Author – Jessica Lourey

Image of Author Jessica Lourey
I am featuring author Jessica Lourey this period. Recently, I was reminded by my book group – Sisters In Crime (yes, I’m a sister) about Jessica Lourey’s  workshop: “Write & Sell Your Novel: From Idea to Publication.” My book group continued their encouragement stating that I did not want to miss out on this great opportunity to learn and network. Therefore, like a good groupie, I attended. This is where I met an amazing woman,  Author Jessica Lourey.

Image of Jessica Lourey at table

Jess Lourey (rhymes with “dowry”) is an Agatha, Anthony, and Lefty-nominated author best known for her critically-acclaimed Murder-by-Month mysteries, which have earned multiple starred reviews from Library Journal and Booklist, the latter calling her writing “a splendid mix of humor and suspense.” Jess also writes sword and sorcery fantasy, edge-of-your-seat YA adventure, magical realism, and feminist thrillers. She is a tenured professor of creative writing and sociology, a recipient of The Loft’s Excellence in Teaching fellowship, a regular Psychology Today blogger, and a TEDx presenter.

from Jessica Lourey’s website

Image of Jessica Lourey Books MaydayThe workshop was held on a cold, dreary, miserable Saturday, and started at 8:30 in the morning. I did not say donuts and coffee at 8:30, I said the workshop begins at 8:30. I had to drive over an hour to get to the venue. Plus, take a shower, yes, before I left.

Jessica started promptly at 8:30. As early as this was I gave her a check-mark for starting promptly on time. Little did I know she was about to break the record for check-marks I’ve awarded in one day.

Jessica Lourey is the critically-acclaimed author of over 20 novels, articles, and short stories.

We sat down with our workshop packets, our colorful index cards, and began. Using her new book, Rewrite Your Life, Jessica moved us in a  smooth pace encouraging interaction, participation, completing exercises, and taking breaks at perfect times. Her time management rewarded Jessica with still more check-marks.

Latest Release

Jessica Lourey Book Rewrite Your LifeBased on the process Lourey developed and field-tested in the wake of her husband’s suicide, Rewrite Your Life is devoted to the practice of discovering, healing, and evolving through fiction writing. It combines research, practical and engaging guidance, and personal experience to meet readers where they are and take their creativity and personal growth to the next level.

Yet, my biggest surprise was when I realized I was sitting in the most productive, and applicable workshop I have attended since I began my education for the purpose of honing my writing craft. Jessica never failed to answer any question we asked, nor give an answer that was not relative. Her system uses orange, purple, white and green index cards to help visualize the path the story is taking then adjusting if necessary. Her teaching method is easy to understand, make it yours, and execute.

As the workshop came to a close, I was ecstatic with my new found set of writing tools.  Yet, despite my enthusiasm, I knew the 24-Hour-Later test was coming.  While most course are promising in the beginning, later, trying to apply them to reality they fall short. However, this time I had different expectations and hope.  Tomorrow, away from the learning environment, removed from the intoxication of “new”, could I recreate the same excitement, and the same convincing argument that I was holding onto something truly transforming, or was I simply caught up in the moment once again.

Image of Jessica Lourey Standing Pic
In my opinion this course is a must for anyone who writes anything professionally, and privately. I wish I would have taken this workshop long ago. But, as perfect as the material is, and even though Jessica created the material, I feel strongly that it was Jessica Lourey’s writing knowledge and personal experiences that make this workshop so invaluable. I would encourage anyone to look at her website to look at this workshop along with all her other workshops and online courses. I will take it a step further. Do yourself a favor, if you normally don’t click on links, if you don’t click on another link in your life, do yourself a favor and click on this one. Read through the sixth paragraph.

Jessica is one of those people you meet and feel as though she is steering you right. She has a teaching talent beyond her writing skills, and writing skills beyond her teaching talent. Which is the perfect segue into her books.

image of Jessica's guitarWhen not teaching, reading, or dorking out with her family, you can find her dreaming of her next story. Rewrite Your Life: Discover Your Truth Through the Healing Power of Fiction, the only book to walk readers through the healing process of transforming personal experience into bestselling fiction, released May 2017.

From Jessica Lourey’s website.

I will close this by saying, it was a privilege to meet Jessica Lourey.  The knowledge she has planted within me is knowledge that I will nurture and share from this day on.  I hope you, too, get the opportunity to meet Jessica. Yet, at the least, take her workshop on “Rewriting Your Life.”

If you are wondering if the workshop passed my 24-Hour-Test; Twenty-four hours later, not only was I using my notes, and adding to them, I was applying them to my latest manuscript, and highlighting portions in the  book Rewrite Your Life.  Oh, and by the way, I am now the proud owner of stacks of my own orange, purple, white and green index cards.  I believe it’s safe to say, the excitement is indeed real.

Below, I have listed most of the books she has written. Clicking on the titles will take you to her website, and the book. This way you can review it and purchase as many copies as you wish.
(This list does not include her Shorter Stories)

Rewrite Your Life
Better Than Gin

Murder by Month
January Thaw
February Fever
March of Crime
April Fools
May Day
June Bug
Knee High by the Fourth of July
August Moon
September Fair
October Fest
November Hunt
December Dread

Thrillers and Mysteries
Mercy’s Chase
Salem’s Cipher

Young Adult
The Toadhouse Trilogy: Book One

The Savages of Underrock

Women’s Fiction
Seven Daughters
The Catalain Book of Secrets

Historical Fiction
We Shall Be One

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Definition of a Mortician

Definition of a Mortician

B. Frank Hall overlooking cat tails, Definition of a Mortician
B. Frank Hall overlooking cat tails

In my presentation of Black Diamond: The Fourth Missing Bullet, I state that the story is told through the eyes of a mortician.  But, what is the definition of a mortician? In short, it’s generally a person who conducts the duties of both the funeral director and the embalmer. To get a little more technical, it is someone who is licensed as both a funeral director and embalmer. I was licensed in both areas.

I found Mortician Guide that explains in detail what a mortician does. Continue reading Definition of a Mortician

Scheduled Events

Scheduled Events

Tonight at Book Exchange Marietta
Radney Foster.
Image of Radney Foster Author Musician

As a young musician straight out of Texas, Radney Foster spent the lengthy drives in between tour stops reading the likes of John Steinbeck, Larry McMurtry, and Harper Lee. Over 30 years of artist cuts later, there is no question that he himself is an established storyteller.

His newest endeavor, For You To See The Stars is a project made up of  two parts – a book and a CD. Continue reading Scheduled Events

Funeral Business Topics

Funeral Business Topics:

Definition of a Mortician

In my presentations of Black Diamond: The Fourth Missing Bullet,  I immediately broach the topic of funeral business. I state that the story is told through the eyes of a mortician.  But, what

B. Frank Hall overlooking cat tails
Your Author – Once a Mortician

is the definition of a mortician? In short, it’s basically a person who conducts the duties of both the funeral director and the embalmer. To get a little more technical, it is someone who has a license as both a funeral director and embalmer. I was licensed in both areas.

I found Mortician Guide that explains in detail what a mortician does.


MORTICIANGUIDE © All Rights Reserved

A mortician, also known as an undertaker or funeral director, is in charge of coordinating the funeral entire process. Continue reading Funeral Business Topics