Three days ago, last Saturday, I participated in Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue’s Holiday Bazaar. I planned to dash off a quick blog post about the experience as soon as I could access my computer at home. After some thought, I decided I wanted to take time to think about the bazaar and to write something real about the experience. Today I sat down at my computer and wrote.
As a local author, I had rented vendor space and a table from Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue for their Holiday Bazaar on Saturday, October 25th. Since my wife, Deva, and I didn’t want to make the long trip from Darrington, Washington to Tenino, Washington on the day of the bazaar, we stayed overnight at the Motel 6 in Tumwater that allowed pets. Nothing fancy, but the young lady at the front desk was friendly and the room clean.
Our older German Shepherd dog, Katrina, has been afflicted with Sundowner’s–a symptom of dementia–for some months now which is why she couldn’t be boarded like our other three GSDs. The change in routine and being so near the freeway, kept her awake and anxious most of the night; Deva graciously took care of the dog while I slept. Pixie and Mindy slept well, except when Katrina’s panting woke them.
Saturday dawned with scattered clouds. After feeding the dogs, Deva and I loaded Mindy, Pixie and Katrina into the backseat of the truck and headed to Tenino for the CCR Holiday Bazaar. On the way, we looked for a restaurant for breakfast. Nothing turned up until we hit Tenino and found Scotty’s ‘50’s style diner. The coffee was hot and plentiful, the water glasses stayed full and the food tasted great. Replete we made the last couple of miles to Cross Creek.
Weeks earlier, we had been involved in an alpaca rescue operation initiated by my 76-year-old sister, Lois. Deva had found CCR and Shari Bond and Jackie Glover had trailered to the rescue of 48 alpacas whose 84-year-old owner had died. Now, as we drove in we spied one of the alpacas, Leonardo, in the front paddock. The older male had been so starved down and loaded with parasites by the time Lois became involved in their care, that there had been talk of having to put him down. Shari and Jackie had worked a miracle. The poor old guy was walking without stiffness or pain; had put on a few pounds and seemed quite content. The four elderly female alpacas, Lady Jane among them, had settled into their forever home with CCR. They looked so content standing in the field with the other “girls”.
We parked and unloaded books and flyers. I set up my table–situated between Detricks’ Farm and Chicken Coop display of delicious and unique jams, jellies and pickles, and a table of beautiful handmade jewelry–while Deva made sure our dogs were comfortable.
A little later on, four spinners arrived, set up and began a spinning demonstration turning alpaca fiber into yarn. The wonderful smell of citrus and apples and cinnamon drifted through the building from the cider set to warming on the back table.
Throughout the day, people wandered in and meandered from table to table. I met and chatted with many readers. We talked about different authors, the different styles of writing and books we loved.
Dorothy Royce, a 90-year-old from California, visited with me for quite a while. What an interesting woman! When I learned she’d had a recent birthday, I autographed and gave her a copy of Sketch of a Murder, Book 1, of my Special Crimes Team series. Since she’d never had a Kindle, I fired mine up and showed her how to make the text bigger and some of the other features. The device was so lightweight that she had no problem holding it–she sometimes had trouble holding larger books while she read–and the built-in stand of my Kindle cover delighted her.
About halfway through the day, Deva brought out our Papillons, Mindy and Pixie, who immediately became people-magnets, charming everyone who glanced their way.
It was nearly closing time for the bazaar when Diane Vasarkovy stopped to chat. We talked murder mysteries for a while then we segued into talking about her own writing project: the story of Wolf Haven International. Here is part of the introduction to the work-in-progress: “We think it’s important to show how ordinary people, with a passion, even without knowledge or resources, can make a tremendous difference in the world. Magic can happen to people who follow their inner knowing…..Canis Lupus (the wolf) and other wild canines are in crisis in North American wild lands. In competition for habitat with human encroachment, they are unfortunately still seen as vermin by resource hungry people who can’t see the larger picture of our total eco-system. We now have proof that wolves change eco-systems for the better….”
Diane left with the first two books of the Special Crimes Team series, and I was left with a deep respect for her project.
At the end of the day, we packed up the remaining books and flyers and put the dogs back in the truck. A light rain fell as we left CCR. For the next few days, I thought about what I had learned during the bazaar.
- I learned that readers are delighted to share ideas about the books they read and love; and it gave me new perspectives on books that I’d read.
I learned that connecting with readers recharged my “creative batteries” and renewed my determination to write the very best books possible; to honor the unwritten contract between reader and author: to write an entertaining story.
I learned how very interesting these readers are; how many are involved in important projects such as alpaca rescue and writing the history of Wolf Haven, International.
I learned, once again, how honored I am that readers invite me into their homes, into their lives. When readers open my novels and enter the fictional worlds that I create, they give me the most precious thing they have: their time.
I have designated November as my Attitude of Gratitude Month to My Readers. Sketch of a Murder, Book 1, Special Crimes Team, EBOOK is FREE on AMAZON from NOVEMBER 1 through NOVEMBER 5.
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