#204–Arrival in Bakersfield . . .

I didn’t expect a welcoming committee. One with a sign and one taking photos with her smart phone. It was after midnight, and I was tired and sleepy. This definitely woke me up. It was great fun and as I mentioned in yesterday’s blog post, it was a highlight of my trip. My sister, Edna, is holding the sign just like a tour guide looking for her group.We’ll remember this for a long time.







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#203–Of cabbages and kings . . .

“’The time has come,’ the walrus said, ‘to talk of many things. Of shoes and ships – and sealing wax. Of cabbages and kings.’” This quote from “The Walrus and the Carpenter” by Lewis Carroll, sums up exactly the hodge-podge of topics I will touch on this first day of 2017.

Trip south

I left on December 17 when Eugene was still in the grip of the ice storm of the 14th. Everything was encased in a thick coating of ice––every leaf, every twig. And everything was decorated with icicles, including the cars in Long-term Parking. They looked like they were decorated for the holidays. With the temps just above freezing and the sun shining, it was beautiful but sad because nearly every tree was damaged or ruined. The main roads were easily passible but the secondary roads were still a mess with trees and branches down and lines too.

For the first time since 2012, I got away and returned pretty much according to schedule. There were delays, but one or two-hours, not one or two days.

Flying in and out of San Francisco and Bakersfield was easy, but returning to Eugene in heavy ground fog was SCARY! The first sighting of the ground was the runway and immediately feeling the wheels hit. The pilots were flying blind with total faith in radar.

It was a wonderful visit with family. Highlights were my sister and long-time friend greeting me at the Bakersfield airport when I landed at a little after midnight. My sister held a sign with FLEAGLE written like tour group guides do. It was hilarious. Putting up the Christmas tree with Mom handing us ornaments. Opening presents around the tree on Christmas morning. Christmas dinner of Cornish game hens with many side dishes for eight people and everything turning out good.


My new painting. I love it!

BSG one-year anniversary

As I’ve mentioned before, joining Backstreet Gallery has been a good move for me. To celebrate, I’m buying two paintings by two members. One is already in my kitchen, Punk Rock Duck, by Claudia Ignatieff of a hooded merganser. I fell in love with it when I first saw it. The other is a scene of ocean waves and rocks by John Leasure and again I saw it and wanted it. Both paintings are original oils. But I waited, to see if I continued to want them, to be able to afford them, and to determine where I wanted to put them.


My new, new glasses are gray on the sides, slightly different shape, and blend in with my hair. More importantly, they have a stronger prescription. Most people won’t even notice a change.

New glasses

I bought new glasses this past fall, but they made me feel like I was wearing someone else’s. And one eye would close of its own accord after driving or reading for a period of time when wearing them. So I went back to the optometrist and she reexamined my eyes and found that one eye was seeing double. So the lens for that eye was reworked. I picked up the new, new pair of glasses yesterday. They are wonderful! No problems! I am so relieved.


It’s the mid-size pieces that enable a fire to keep burning.


We are expecting a week of very cold weather. When that happens, I need to burn wood to keep the upstairs warm. But my woodpile has been picked through to where only pieces too large to fit in my stove were left. So I hired a fellow just before I headed south to split those last 50 or 60 pieces. He did so, and it’s wonderful to have wood that I don’t have to struggle with. Now it’s easy to build a fire and keep it going.

Sorting through stuff

Last year in January, I sorted through all the files in my office for the first time in about 20 years and threw out tons of stuff. Yesterday and today, I sorted through my clothes for the  first time in years. Some were old and worn enough to toss, but many pants and tops that I never wear were perfectly wearable and are now in bags that I will drop off at the Humane Society thrift store. And I found stuff to wear that I liked and didn’t remember I had. It’ll be just like Christmas––an extended Christmas!


This book,  from my nephew and his wife for Christmas, will help in some of my research of the unexpected on the Oregon Coast.

Next 12 weeks’ schedule

Approximately twelve weeks will lapse before my next trip south. During this time, I hope to do the research and writing for my next book about the unexpected on the Oregon Coast. I work best with a deadline and a schedule. I plan to put the schedule together tomorrow, and to get started later in the week.

And I want to add walking to my routine to help my leg. I plan to continue two times a week at the gym and to add walking on the days I don’t work out. Maybe I’ll lose the pounds that I put on over the holidays too.

Happy New Year! I hope 2017 turns out to be a really good year for you.

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#202–Not a total Grinch . . .


This year is the first time ever, I didn’t put up a Christmas tree and decorate it. I didn’t decorate the house either. Now that it’s getting closer to Christmas, I’m beginning to feel like a Grinch.


Here are Blue Boy and Pinky, two new ornaments given to me by Theresa as a souvenir of our trip to museum where their paintings are hung.

To make it worse, the only items I collect are ornaments, and the only time I see them is when I have a Christmas tree. I really enjoy looking at each one before placing it on the tree and remembering who gave it to me or where I was when I bought it. To make it even worse this year, two friends gave me ornaments and I bought two ornaments on the trip that I took with my sister in June. So I was really looking forward to putting up a tree this year and placing each of my new ornaments. Oh well!

I always do my decorating the weekend after Thanksgiving and spend a few days putting up the tree and decorating the house. Of course, it only takes a day to place my ornaments on the tree. But it takes several days to reposition them over and over until they are just right. It’s crazy, but every year.I turn into a Christmas tree perfectionist.

So why didn’t I decorate this year. Two reasons: I had left a bunch of large chores that I needed to get done, and these days, everything takes more time than it used to. The second reason is that I moved three pieces of redwood furniture into my dining room so I could keep them dry before, during, and after I painted them. They badly needed work. So my dining room—totally visible from my living room half a story below, had this super crowded look and it just didn’t make sense to decorate one part of the house and turn another into a workshop.


I painted these two in the kitchen under the watchful eye of Sir Groucho.

And every year, I’m gone for two weeks around Christmas. Most people think I’m crazy for even decorating at all since I won’t even be home. Those folks will think I finally wised up.

Besides painting the redwood chairs and table after I got back from California at the end of October, I washed all the windows because I had put it off for months.

I also planned on doing a lot of clean-up work in the yard, and I got some done.

An unplanned project was cleaning out the entire basement, which involved a couple of trips to the dump. I needed to clean it out so an electrician could walk from one end to the other in order to wire the corners of the house for motion sensor lights in the backyard.

I also had not cleaned out the greenhouse. So I had to put on my version of a Hazmat suit. A shower cap covered my hair, a mask covered my mouth and nose, and the rest of me was covered in several layers since it was cold. I looked totally bizarre, but it was necessary. I meant to get everything cleaned out in early October before heading to California, but didn’t get to it. So by this time of year, my greenhouse on the north side of the house is filled with tomato and pepper plants totally covered with a gray coating of mold. Just touching them fills the air with spores that I don’t want to breath in. After getting the plants out, I took out most of the gardening stuff and carried it to the newly cleaned out basement.

A project I needed to finish by Christmas has been awaiting my attention since the end of June when my sister and I returned from our trip. I got started when I was in California in October. I wrote up all my notes from the trip. About the second week after getting home, I spent the entire week editing and adding many, many photos to the manuscript. Then I ran off two copies and created covers. When I finished, the two manuscripts were about a half-inch thick. I took them to Shipping Shack and had them stapled. Now I have a book to share with my sister—Judy and Edna’s Really Big Trip or How Two Sisters Ate Their Way Through Port Townsend, Seattle, Victoria and Friday Harbor.


These will help us remember our fabulous trip!

I spent the better part of another week doing my Christmas letter and Christmas cards and getting them mailed or delivered. This past weekend I spent some time making fudge and baking chocolate chip cookies. Then I divided everything up and placed these goodies into several Christmas gift bags. Then this week I delivered them, which involved some wonderful visits.

Last week was my Backstreet Gallery week. I put in my three days of being the clerk on duty, went to the once a month general meeting, attended a Christmas party, and attended the Second Saturday Art Walk and reception. I also attended another reception on Sunday at the events center. Those of us there from Backstreet posed for a photo with Santa.

And I attended some Black Friday sales and did more Christmas shopping between other activities and got presents wrapped and sent. So I wasn’t a total Grinch.

I plan to fly to California later today and the temps are the lowest they have been all year. Once again, I’ve picked one of the worst days to try to get to Eugene. I hope I can drive over this afternoon. The roads are icy this morning; I hope they will be melted by the time I leave about 2 p.m. Wish me luck!

And I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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#201–Frustrations & Giving Thanks . . .


It is Thanksgiving Day as I sit here writing, and like many others, I’m thinking of what I’m thankful for. I’m also aware of some of the frustrations in my life this year. So this Thanksgiving, I’ll do a balanced assessment.



Frustrations, not of a mega problem nature, but enough of them and enough of a problem to drive me nuts!

Leg still a problem: Since my trip to California last Christmas, my one leg has been a problem. Not sure what caused it. It’s not the knee; it’s the muscles we think. By “we,” I mean the physical therapist, my doctor, and a personal trainer. I can’t straighten my right leg and whenever I sit or lie down for more than an hour, it’s like I have to learn how to walk all over again. And it really hurts if I bend it. So stairs aren’t much fun. After 12 physical therapy sessions and working with a personal trainer and working out at the Coastal Fitness gym here in Florence, that leg is still a problem. I walk very slowly––like an old lady.

New glasses: Last August, I spent a bundle on new glasses. It had been seven years since new glasses and three years since my eyes were last checked. I didn’t need new lenses then. After I received the new glasses, I spent a few weeks trying to adjust to them, but whenever I was reading or driving, my left eye would automatically close after awhile. And I continued to feel disoriented, like I was wearing someone else’s glasses. So I took them back, and they were readjusted. That didn’t help. Since I would be gone most of October, I took my old glasses on the trip. I did go back in with the glasses a couple of weeks ago and they took notes and made an appointment with an optometrist. This past week, she rechecked my eyes. She thinks that the new glasses are making me see double. My new, new glasses should be ready in a week or so.

Election hard to accept: I’ve been a Hilary fan for years and felt she was the most qualified for the job. I still can’t believe that Trump won. He scares me. So it’s very hard for me to accept. Part of me wants to move to Canada for the next four years, but my life is here. So I’ll stay.

New Book, Devil Cat

Sales of Devil Cat as well as my other books drop off this time of year.

Book sales drop off: The tourists are gone, the rains have begun in earnest, and sales of everything have dropped off at the coast. So no calls from venues requesting my books. This happens every year, so I shouldn’t be surprised. But it is disappointing.

Computer hacked: Last July, my computer was hacked. While I was checking emails, I clicked on one that I thought was from an FFOB participant. My email disappeared, and I had a message pop up that I needed to respond immediately and there was a customer service number to call. So I called it. For a hunk of money, my email would be returned and I would be signed up for a year of antivirus and security coverage. Like a fool, I fell for it. I found out later, it was a scam.

Norton renewal: I kept getting notices that I needed to renew my Norton antivirus plan on both my laptop and desktop. I wondered why I needed it on my desktop, if I already had another plan. When I tried to install my Norton security and antivirus just a couple of weeks ago on my desktop, it wouldn’t work. I tried to get both my laptop and desktop on the same plan this time. No problem installing on my laptop, but it took three long phone calls involving the solution of several problems for the desktop. Most problems were because of the hacking last July. This is when I found out I had been scammed also. Now almost everything on my computers is back to normal.

Facebook problem: Facebook is not back to normal. It disappeared when I was hacked. So I started a new page and then someone else took it over, and I couldn’t even get into it. I have since changed the password, and tried but not successfully to discontinue the new page. And I still can’t get on my old page, which is what I’d like to do. AARRGGHH!!

Mice in garage: Since I keep a lot of my books in the garage, I don’t like the idea of mice in there. So as of a couple of days ago, we have mousetraps set in both garages.

Need motion sensor lights: Since we had the cougar on the upper deck last spring, I have wanted to have motion sensor lights installed in the back. This is especially important now that is dark as early as 5 p.m. on rainy days. I thought I had someone lined up to do the electrical work involved last August. Months have passed and nothing. So I called someone else, and he is supposed to be here this coming Monday. I will also put a motion sensor light at the side door of the garage, since that is where Carole, who lives downstairs, goes in and out. And my lights on either side of the garage need to be replaced. One just quit working the other day. So I will finally be getting all these lighting projects completed.

Yard work: I was not able to keep up with my part of the yard work for a second year in a row. I need to get more help. The weeds and pruning are the main problems. Whenever I put in more than a couple hours in the yard, later in the day I got hamstring pulls. And that takes a week or more for me to recover from each time


Outside work: Todd Hiatt has weed wacked the grass in my back area since 1988, and now he has added keeping my roof cleaned off and gutters cleaned out and in general blowing away leaves etc from the front and pathways around the house. He also has redone the drainage system that collects from the front of the garages and the roof, and he has pruned the ivy on the woodshed and elsewhere. Since I don’t climb around on the roof any more or on the woodshed, he has become even more invaluable.

Cancer still managed: My cancer that I was diagnosed with two years ago is not cured or in remission, but it is managed. At least, that is what my oncologist tells me. I go in for another appointment in December and he’ll decide if he wants me to take another PET scan in January. As far as I can tell, there is no problem—no pain like I had before, no weight loss. I feel good.

Having hair: I’ve had my hair back for about a year as well as my eyebrows and eyelashes, and I’m just so glad not to have to wear a wig or hat or use an eyebrow pencil. I could never get my eyebrows to look alike.


My wonderful, dependable, but aging Camry.

Car made trip safely: My 18-year old Camry with almost 200,000 miles on it made my semi-annual 2,000-mile round trip to California with no problems. Before the trip, I had the car serviced and tires checked. In the past––despite pre-trip checks––I have had problems with tires, but not this time. I just love my car and hope it makes it a couple more years.

Good family visit: My mom is doing about the same as when I saw her last April. When I come down, I become the caregiver, housekeeper, cook, and gardener and give my brother and sister and the caregiver (who is there in the mornings) a break. Mom has a routine, which I adjust to, which involves playing gin rummy in the afternoons when I’m there. About a third of the time Mom wins. And each evening family members come for dinner. On this visit, I especially enjoyed collaborating on some dinner preparations with my sister. So it was a busy, but enjoyable visit.


My mother, who turned 104 this past summer, still beats me about a third of the time when we play gin rummy.

Birthday party: Since my birthday falls about a week after I return home each year, my family always has a birthday dinner for me before I leave with cards, presents, and a birthday cake. It’s always a special occasion for me. Among my gifts this year was a mop that squirts. Who knew I’d get so excited over a mop

Visited friends: Before visiting my family, I saw Theresa (formerly from Florence) in the LA area. We visited the Huntington Art Museum in the Pasadena area and another day went to the beach in Ventura where we also visited one of the missions. We had a wonderful time even though the temperature was in the 90s––in October. After visiting my family for 2 ½ weeks, I spent a couple of days with Rosemary, a friend since we were in 7th grade together. And I also spent a couple of days with Phyllis, a college roommate who has remained a friend ever since. On these last two visits, we did a certain amount of galavanting around that involved going out for meals, seeing a movie, and shopping.


It was especially good to see Phyllis, since she was in a coma with only a 50% chance of surviving a year ago. We both have a lot to be thankful for.

Friends: I am very thankful for my long-time and newer friends from far and near. Friends make life special.

Victorian Belles: This past weekend, the Victorian Belles craft group had their annual holiday sale at the event center at Three Rivers Casino. They always invite three of us to participate—Connie Bradley, Karen Nichols, and me. It was a marathon of selling or trying to sell books. It lasted Friday–Sunday, and the first two days were from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday ended at 3 p.m. The first day I didn’t sell any books until 4 p.m, and then I sold four. On Saturday, I made up for it by selling 15 and five on Sunday for a total of 24. Not too bad!



For several years, I’ve been a part of the Victorian Belles Holiday Sale and have enjoyed it and done well selling books.

Vintage watch: For the last couple of years, I’ve admired the vintage watch jewelry made by Meredith Draper. Her work is in Backstreet Gallery, and she had some of her necklaces and earrings at the Victorian Belles sale. After staring at a couple of her necklaces for three days, I bought one with birthday money given to me by Mom. I just love it.


My beautiful vintage watch necklace that I couldn’t resist.

Backstreet Gallery: I’ve had my books at Backstreet Gallery this past year, and I enjoy being part of this community of artists. I also have a good time when I’m on duty chatting with the visitors that come into the gallery. And my books sell there.

Got last seat on one-stop flight to Bakersfield for Christmas: I didn’t want to drive to Bakersfield because of bad weather this time of year, I didn’t want to take the train because it takes so long, and I didn’t want to fly because I seem to get stuck in Eugene, San Francisco, or Bakersfield whenever I fly through San Francisco. Flying seemed to be the best option, though, and all flights between Eugene and Bakersfield go through SFO. And many have two stops of which one is SFO. Once I decided to fly, I went online. I was thrilled to get the last seat on the only flight left not all booked up for Bakersfield through SFO that had only one stop. My boarding times are good on the Eugene end, but terrible on the other end. I arrive a few minutes before midnight and 11 days later have to leave at 6 a.m.

Life is always a mix of positive and negative, but this year I seemed to have more negatives than normal. Nothing major, thank goodness, just a lot of frustrations. Since I tend to see the glass as half full, I’ll concentrate on the positives and be thankful.

Posted in Adventures with Chemo, Adventures with health, Adventures with travel, Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known, Judy's Book Adventures, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

#200–6th Florence Festival of Books . . .

I enjoyed this Festival of Books more than any in the past. I felt good physically and knew that those of us on the planning committee were as ready as we could be.

On Thursday, Connie Bradley, Kevin Mittge, and I passed out everything that would be needed by the participants on Saturday. And I got my table set up.


My table and the area around it is all set up for Saturday.

But I still had worries. I worried that the panelists or keynote speaker wouldn’t be able to make it for Friday’s events. I also worried that nobody would show up, that there would be skimpy audiences for the Friday events and that the crowds would be minuscule on Saturday.

And I always worry about the weather. It was light rain on Friday, which was not a problem. And on Saturday, it was warmer than usual with minimal wind––one of those rare perfect days. So I need not have worried.

Fantabulous Panel Discussion

We hadn’t heard back from one of our panelists, a poet from the Eugene area, and weren’t sure he would be there. Another one, Duana Welch, Ph.D., with her expertise about the science behind relationships had us all curious. And Janet Wellington is a local but unknown as a romance writer of eBooks. Tom Cherones and Ned Hickson were both known quantities. And Kevin Mittge, the panel moderator, works at the library and is a quiet spoken but extremely capable member of the FFOB committee. He was worried that he wouldn’t be up to the task of moderator.

The panel discussion took place on the stage. Both the panel and the audience were on the stage. We knew we would not have a big crowd, and so it made for a more intimate setting. I asked Duana’s daughter to direct audience members down the long hallway to the backstage area, at the end of which I passed out a handout and directed them to the stage. We had about 40 or 45 attendees. Anything over 30 was fantabulous.

Kevin was self-assured as he introduced each panel member. The one that I thought might not show up, did not. But four were plenty. The topic “The Path: Idea to Book” gave each member the chance to tell their individual stories from the inkling of an idea to the published book.

Then Kevin had marvelous follow-up questions  that he directed to the panel and he always indicated who was to begin. There were lively responses from Ned, Duana, and Janet, who almost stole the show with her humor. All three had marvelous connections to the audience, many of whom were taking copious notes. Tom had briefer but often humorous responses. Then there were questions from the audience. The hour and a half simply whizzed by and many stayed to talk individually with panelists. It was a success by any measure.

Riveting Keynoter


Here I am with Phillip Margolin, a quiet, affable man––until you put him on a stage.

That evening, Phillip Margolin spoke. He is Oregon’s John Grisham. Like Grisham, he was a criminal defense attorney.He practiced 25 years and even argued a case before the United States Supreme Court. Since 1996, he has been a full-time author, producing 20 books of which 17 have been New York Times bestsellers.

He started speaking before he reached the center of the stage and didn’t stop for 45 minutes. He walked back and forth, using his hands and arms to make points. You could just picture him in the courtroom. He was informative, entertaining, and humorous. And positively riveting! The sizable audience––yes, a a sizable audience––came up with intelligent questions. Prior to his talk was a Meet and Greet where many FFOB authors came to mingle and to meet Margolin. All in all, Friday turned out to be a terrific day in spite of rain and my worries.

The Big Event

On Saturday, approximately 85 authors and 10 publishers participated. They started arriving about 8:30 a.m. to set up before the 10 a.m. start. The LDS Boy  Scout troop helped folks bring in their books and promo materials and led them to their tables. Participants loved them.


The scouts helped bring in boxes of books and other stuff and led the authors to their tables. Wonderful helpers!

Promptly at 10 a.m., attendees started wandering through the book display area and filling their totes with books––books for themselves as well as gifts. The crowds continued all day with a lull around lunchtime. They were good crowds that were buying books. I sold 22––more than I’ve ever sold. Not everyone did that well.

About 3 p.m., I wandered around checking out everything and chatted with many participants. In the process, I bought four books. I love the great variety. It truly is a terrific experience to see and talk to so many authors. One gal had not sold a single book, not one of her four novels. I couldn’t let her leave with no sales, so I bought one.

The crowds continued until 4 p.m. when it ended. I guess I wasn’t ready to stop. At 4:15 p.m., most participants were pretty well packed up and on their way out, but I was still chatting with people and sold another book. By the time I got packed up, I was the last one out.

With food and drink available in the lobby and volunteers to sit at the tables, so participants could take breaks, the book fair was enjoyed by all. I heard only good comments. Most authors made numerous sales, publishers made numerous contacts, and attendees chatted with numerous authors and got books signed by the people who wrote them.


A typical sight–a book lover chatting with an author. In this case, the author is Yvonne Kohano, a Portland writer of romantic suspense and psychological thrillers.

Bonnie, who was at the central credit card machine for those who did not have individual means of dealing with credit cards, came dashing by and said there were just under $2,000 in sales. That was more than previous years.

So by whatever means you want to measure it, the 6th Annual Florence Festival of Books was a success. Whew! Now I can get on with the rest of my life.

Note: I will be gone most of the month of October to visit family and friends in California, so no blog posts until after the first week of November. Sir Groucho will have plenty of company while I’m gone. As usual there will be a village taking care of him.


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#199–Positivity, word of the week . . .


I came up with Positivity last night just before falling asleep and wondered if it was actually a word. Then before I was even out of bed this morning, I heard it on NPR’s Weekend Edition with Scott Simon. It wasn’t Scott, but someone else who used it. So I took it as a sign. If it could be used there, I could use it here.

The last few days were filled with positive situations that I wanted to share. A week ago, I was really upset with some aspects of how things were going for the Florence Festival of Books (FFOB). I even sent an email to a friend filled with whining and venting. Today I feel just the opposite.

The last two weeks have been filled with meetings, writing articles, and getting flyers out regarding the FFOB. And my activities with Backstreet Gallery were equally busy during this time.

So when you’re feeling overwhelmed, tired, and living on few hours a sleep each night as I was, whining comes easily. But now that the busy period is past, I can look back and see the positive—expecially this past week.



The NW Boomer & Senior News article about the FFOB and keynote speaker Phillip Margolin.

The NW Boomer & Senior News September edition had an article about the FFOB as well as basic info in their calendar. It was even featured on the bottom of the front page. I wrote and sent in the article and calendar info a month ago. The managing editor said that they probably wouldn’t have room for the article, but the calendar info would run for sure. I saw a copy earlier this week, and was thrilled that the article made it.


The September 14 Wednesday copy of the newspaper with the story about the upcoming FFOB.

The Siuslaw News had wonderful coverage of the Florence Festival of Books in Center Stage the first week of September and in the Wednesday paper this past week. I contributed some of the text for both. Again, I was thrilled to see them.

Then tomorrow, Sunday, September 19, in the Eugene Register-Guard in the Oregon Life section will be a piece I did that tells about the event and then has at least a line—sometimes two, occasionally three—about each of the 90 participants. This article took a lot of time and several phone calls/emails to gather info. The editor, emailed me yesterday to say that “the story worked out well.” I was so relieved and pleased. I don’t subscribe to the RG, but I will be buying a copy of this issue.

This next week on Wednesday, the insert in the Siuslaw News will be about 20 pages and totally devoted to the FFOB. I contributed three articles and edit for three other items as well as photos for the cover. That kept me busy last week. Much of the insert will consist of ads from FFOB participants. I’ll have a half-page ad like I had last year. This year, I upgraded to color. So I’m looking forward to seeing the insert. It will also be the program during the day of the event. The centerfold will have a table layout with a list of who sits where for all 90 participants.


KXCR Florence: Connie Bradley, Meg Spencer, Jennifer Conner, and I were interviewed about the FFOB. It is our understanding that this interview, which lasted about 25 minutes will run more than once before our event. It will probably be cut down to a shorter time.

KCST Florence: I rewrote scripts from past years to reflect this year’s FFOB and went in a week ago to record both of them. I’ve done this most year’s since 2011 when we had the first FFOB. These are 30-second spots and will run numerous times. The first year, I had to record numerous times and had to add edit because I didn’t realize for a 30-second spot, you need to record a little longer to account for the removal of all the pauses to take a breath. I was there more than an hour. So this time after I redid both of them and before going to the radio station, I practiced and pruned down to 40 seconds. When I went in to record, Calista met me. I recorded each one once, and she worked her magic and got them to 30 seconds. We were done in 20 minutes. I felt good about how they turned out, and so did Calista. Her parting words, “Same time, next year!”

KNPT Newport: I was on Pet Improvement with Jane Laulis on Friday, September 16. It runs every Friday from 8:30 until 9 a.m. I was the featured guest mainly because of my book, Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known. I had the opportunity to talk about this book, my bridge books, and the FFOB coming up in a week. It is supposed to be available as a podcast for a week. Check out http://www.knptam.com. If you click on the podcast for Pet Improvement and then click on the paw print in the sand, you should get it. I haven’t heard it yet, but Jane was really happy with how it went and bought a copy of Devil Cat. How could I not feel good!

Flyer/Poster Distribution


Our wonderful double-sided flyers.

About a month ago, I made a trip south to Bandon and north to Newport, to deliver books and to distribute flyers about FFOB. We only had a total of 150 printed because we didn’t have the sponsors set yet. So I dropped off only a few at each stop.

A week ago today, I picked up 12 large posters, 300 smaller ones, and 1,000 double-sided flyers. I then counted and banded 35 sets of flyers, wrote a cover letter and ran off 35 copies, and addressed 35 envelopes. Then I stuffed those envelopes. These went to libraries and bookstores on the north and south coasts, Eugene and other towns in the Willamette Valley, and Southern Oregon.

On Monday I mailed them before heading south. I dropped off flyers and envelopes for committee member Ellen Traylor to distribute in Gardiner and Reedsport. Then I made stops at chambers/info centers, libraries, and bookstores in North Bend, Coos Bay, and Bandon. I also delivered some books in Bandon.


Every single venue was very pleased to receive the materials and declared that they wanted to come and would tell a friend or niece or neighbor about the event.

And some really amazing things happened. When I stopped in Coos Bay, the gal on duty said that the large poster holders near the windows were usually reserved for Bay Area activities. So they wouldn’t need any large ones. But when she discovered that Phillip Margolin, her absolute favorite author, would be our keynote speaker, she changed her tune, “Of course, we’ll display your large poster!” And I helped her put it up.

And when I got to Bandon, there was a major bike event going on, Cycle Oregon, which caused the road to the library to be closed. So I was rerouted, got lost, and ended up on the south of Bandon road that goes by Lord Bennett’s restaurant. I had delivered flyers and posters to the nearby Table Rock Motel before. So I stopped, and they were glad to display them again. In fact, when I told the gal at the desk, that I couldn’t get to the library because of all the cyclists camping in the park in that area, she said that the library was closed that day anyway. She also said that since she lived almost next door to the library, she would deliver posters and flyers there the next day. So I gave her some of each. Who knew!


Our large and small posters and the double-sided flyers.

The next opportunity to distribute came on Thursday after putting in my shift at Backstreet Gallery, which is located in Old Town. I walked down one side of Bay Street and delivered posters and flyers to just about every business. And everyone was very supportive. So from BJ’s Ice Cream to Waterfront Depot, expect to see posters about the FFOB. It took two hours, but I came home floating on air because of all the positive comments about the festival!

And another amazing thing happened. As I was chatting with the gal at Old Town Coffee Roasters, while delivering posters and flyers, a gal waiting behind me asked if she could have some for the libraries in North Bend and Coos Bay. I had delivered some to the North Bend library, but ran out of time and didn’t make it to the Coos Bay Library. I felt bad about that, so I was really happy to get stuff to them after all.

Connie Bradley is covering the rest of Florence, especially the motels.

On Friday, yesterday, I got up at 4 a.m. to be able to leave before 7 a.m. to get to the radio station by 8 a.m. That was a very positive experience, and it was only a few minutes after 9 a.m. when I was ready to leave.

So I headed to Lincoln City, since nothing opens until 10 a.m. I arrived at Bob’s Beach Books at 10 sharp. I delivered posters and flyers and stopped at numerous places between Lincoln City and Florence on my way back. Every place ended up in a discussion about the festival or Margolin or both. And in some places I gave extra flyers to folks nearby who were listening and wanted some. I also stopped at a few lodgings like the Sylvia Beach in Newport and the Adobe in Yachats. Every single experience all day was positive. And I sold 11 books—all unexpected. I felt tired but really good.

FFOB Activities

The FFOB kicks off next Friday, with a panel discussion between five authors discussing their individual paths from idea to book from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the FEC. The participants are Janet Wellington, eBook romance author; Ned Hickson, nationally syndicated humor columnist for the Siuslaw News; Byron Dudley, Eugene poet and author of 12 books; Duana Welch, Ph.D., Eugene resident who provides relationship advice on blog LoveScience where she puts the science in romance, and Tom Cherones, award-winning TV director of “Seinfeld” and other TV programs and author of a parody, The Hardly Boys.

Of course, that evening at 7 p.m. is the Keynote Speaker, Phillip Margolin. I think he is a terrific writer and have read five of his 19 books––most of which have been on the New York Times bestseller list. He is a former criminal defense attorney who has been writing full-time since 1996. So crime thrillers are his genre. I’ve heard him speak, and I’m so pleased we were able to entice him to our event. He is Oregon’s John Grisham.


I as well as other committee members and volunteers will be wearing either this T-shirt or blue aprons with the festival logo on Saturday.

And we have the big event, the book fair for authors (80) and publishers (10) on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. We’ve lined up some Mormon elders (who are actually young adults) to help unload books etc as the participants arrive, and they will return to help load when participants leave. And we’ve worked with the caterers to have free coffee as the participants arrive, and from 10 a.m. on food and drink will be for sale for participants and attendees throughout the day.

So I think we’re ready for next week. And that makes me feel good. Positivity—that’s what it’s been all about all week!







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#198–Ups & downs of summer sales . . .


These are the good times when it comes to selling anything on the Oregon Coast. The coast is a tourism magnet to vacationers from out of state and even out of country, and this year is no exception. And when it’s hot inland like it has been this year, the valley folks come over in droves for a few days respite from the heat. So this summer has been busy with both long-term vacationers and short-term visitors. Consequently, it’s been a good summer for selling books––mostly.


My books on display at Backstreet Gallery.

Backstreet Gallery

I’m involved with Backstreet Gallery this year. So it’s my first time to be involved with a business on Bay Street in the summer. OMG, Old Town is so crowded. With the gallery’s location across from Mo’s and next to B.J’s Ice Cream, it’s one of the busiest spots. Prime location! When I’m there pulling a shift, I’m always amazed at how many visitors are from Canada, England, Japan, and various countries of Europe as well as the East Coast and the South and Midwest. We expect many visitors from throughout the Northwest and California, too, and were not disappointed.

My books sell well there and the gallery only takes 10 percent. All other businesses that sell my books take 40 percent (the industry standard). Of course, we have to pay a space rent depending on how large a space we occupy, be on duty a few shifts a month, attend a general meeting once a month, and be on a couple committees. As a member-owned co-op, everyone pitches in. Only a few of my books sold in the slowest months of winter, but more sold as the weather warmed. By summer, they were selling well. One day, while I was working a shift, I sold five and another day I sold four. Of course, I work at it.


Backstreet Gallery has 21 artists and 1 non-artist author––me!

When folks come in and I’ve welcomed them and told about all the types of art on display, I explain that we have 22 local artists, one of which is not actually an artist but an author and that’s me. (If they look like they have a sense of humor, I might add, “Since I’m only here a few days a month, this is your lucky day!”) I pause briefly, and if they ask, “What do you write?” I wave my hand over my books that are right on the counter by where I’m standing and give the one-minute version that includes all four of them. If they continue to look interested, I go into the one-minute per book version, which involves picking up each book and showing a few photos and illustrations inside. If they continue to look interested, I hand them whichever book they are looking at and discuss it in more detail. It nearly always results in a sale.

People enjoy talking to the author or artist and having the author sign or personalize their new book.

Yachats Farmers Market

On Sundays in July and August, I’m at the farmers market in Yachats. It’s my third year, and I continue to enjoy it. I’m the only one selling books among 40 to 45 vendors. Most spaces sell  produce or food (jams and jellies of local berries, hummus, cheeses, and free-range beef for example), but there are a couple of photographers, a few potters, a few selling jewelry, one with felt products, a gal with whimsical sunflowers and dolls made from kelp and driftwood with vintage clothing, and more. It’s an eclectic mix.


Kelp and driftwood dolls with vintage clothing that are also rattles on sale at Yachats Farmers Market.

The folks visiting the market are just as diverse as to where they come from as those that visit Backstreet Gallery. And I use the same selling techniques if they look interested. I always sell about six or seven books and twice I’ve sold 15. By now, I’m recognized and in turn recognize some of the locals. I feel like an old-hand at what I’m doing. I’m no longer the new kid on the block, pretending that I know what I’m doing.

One thing about YFM is the weather. Only one day was warm so far this year. Yachats is often at the edge of the fog, which means cold and windy. I’ve learned to bring several layers. A breeze usually comes up that can turn into a wind. Some winds can blow steadily at 25 to 35 mph. Folks ask, “Aren’t you afraid you’ll blow away?”


Notice the concrete blocks and the water bottles anchoring the canopy.

I just answer, “I may levitate, but I don’t blow away.” I anchor each leg of my canopy with concrete blocks to which the cords of the canopy are tied. Besides the very heavy block attached to each leg, I tie two half-gallon containers of water. I also have a rope that I can tie to a nearby tree with a sizable trunk. My canopy is not going anywhere.

It takes awhile to set up my canopy, the leg anchors, and the rest of my stuff. So I get up at 4:30 a.m. so that I can get there about 7:30 to 7:40 a.m. That way, I can get my car in to my spot and unload and be gone without disrupting someone else located near me who wants to unload. A sort of choreography takes place as everyone enters, unloads, and departs to park else where. By 8:30 a.m. vendors are to be ready, even though the market doesn’t officially open until 9 a.m. You know how those things work. Folks come early to get the best pickings.


A giant malamute babysitting . . .


. . . two small kittens.


One of my favorite parts of the YFM is the parade of dogs and other pets with their owners. I see all kinds, including Burmese mountain dogs, great danes, basset hounds, standard poodles of every color, Italian greyhounds, English setters, Irish wolfhounds, German shepherds, numerous labs, and more as well as many small dogs of all kinds. And a couple of ferrets once.

I also enjoy the strolling violinist.


She adds so much to the cast of interesting folks that are part of the YFM. In the background is my canopy.

Of course, I also enjoy the nearness of Bread & Roses bakery and café––especially when it’s cold. That’s when nothing beats a steaming hot latte and their version of bear claws. And before I head home, I often stop by Mari’s books for a chat and to sell a few books if they are running low. All in all, I enjoy my Sundays at the YFM.


The outdoor book fair under canopies at Bob’s Beach Books

Bob’s Beach Books Northwest Author Fair

On August 19, I attended the annual book fair at Bob’s Beach Books in Lincoln City. I got to sit by Ron Lovell, a coastal mystery writer and now publisher, whom I’ve known a few years. I also saw a few others I knew. It’s always fun to touch base with fellow Northwest Writers. It was a warm day, but not as much foot traffic as in past years. So sales were not as good; I only sold four books. I did pass out a few flyers about the Florence Festival of Books and made a few connections, which always helps. On book fairs, you just never know how sales are going to go.

Bridge presentation at the Coos History Museum

I was asked to do a bridge presentation both in the afternoon and evening in Coos Bay at the wonderful new history museum. The last time I did a presentation for these folks was in 2011 at the old location in Simpson Park in North Bend. They planned for about 25 folks and about 50 showed up and half of them bought copies of Crossings, my only book at the time. So I was expecting a good turnout. Not so!

When the posters and flyers first came out about my presentation, the time was wrong. So they got out the word that they were wrong. Evidently, the new flyers and posters didn’t make it out in time. Only a few folks turned up in the afternoon and the evening. Didn’t even fill up one row either time. I did my whole PowerPoint routine and at each presentation, at least one person bought a book. And the museum bought nine books. So it wasn’t wasted effort, but it was disappointing.


Mary and Mari at Mari’s Books in Yachats know my spiel about my books as well as I do and do a great job of selling my books.

Selling trip north

Certain places consistently do a good job of selling my bridge books. I’m so thrilled with the Interpretive Center at Yaquina Head north of Newport, Nye Beach Book House in Newport, the Historic Alsea Bay Bridge Interpretive Center in Waldport, Mari’s in Yachats, and the Cape Perpetua Interpretive Center south of Yachats. Whenever they need books, they call. I either mail or deliver. I made a trip up to Newport in early August to deliver books and pass out flyers about the Florence Festival of Books and stopped at each of these locations to deliver books.


Harold owner of Books by the Bay in North Bend has sold my books for years.

Selling trip south

I made a trip down the coast on August 19. Only a few places needed books, and those were for the small bridge guides, but I was able to stop at nearly every library, bookstore, and chamber/info center in Reedsport, North Bend, Coos Bay, Charleston, and Bandon to drop off flyers about the FFOB. So it was worthwhile.

My bridge books are by far my best sellers, except for Backstreet and YFM where all four books sell well. During the past few years, I have leaned to try different venues for selling and to be flexible. Who knew when I started this whole venture that my best venues over all would be a farmers market and an art gallery! Live and learn!

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