I just returned from the South Carolina Book Festival in Columbia, SC. It was by far the best festival yet for so many reasons.
First of all, the people were just wonderful. They were friendly, easy to talk to, open, and provided just plain southern hospitality. I was impressed. It started with my train ride. I met some very interesting people on the ride from Sarasota to Columbia. I had dinner with a couple from Virginia who taught me a lot about trains. Patrick was an avid train rider and proved to be very knowledgeable about the whole train system.
On the train ride I sat next to a delightful woman, named Pamela. She was kind enough to offer me a ride to my hotel when we arrived in Columbia at 4:30 in the morning. To top that off she came to the book festival on Sunday to purchase a copy of "The Advocate."
Second surprise of the trip was when I received a text from my friend, Sooze, who lives in Tobaccoville, NC. She sent me a message to let me know she was going coming to SC to see me. She arrived about 3:00 p.m. and we met for dinner and an evening of catching up after 21 years of separation. Sooze drove about four hours to see me and then stayed overnight so she could go to the festival the next day and get a second (that's right, she already had one) copy of my novel. Sooze was my secretary when I first started practicing law...together we grew up. She has no idea what her visit meant to me.
Third surprise: I was standing in the booth and looked out into the aisle to see a man with a very beautiful, young blonde girl standing next to him. They seemed to be staring at me and talking about me. It took a moment before I recognized my best friend, Ron, from law school. The really unusual part about this is that he lives in Seattle, WA. He was there with his daughter who will likely be attending the University of South Carolina next fall. Ron saw that I was there by reading the information on line regarding the book festival and showed up to surprise me. And surprise me he did!
The book festival was a lot of fun. I truly enjoy working with the other Echelon authors. Everyone is so good about helping one another. This time I had the pleasure of working with Marc VunKannon, Sam Morton, Barbara DeShong, Alexis Hart, and our rising Echelon star, Nick Valentino with his debut steampunk novel, "Thomas Riley." Click on Steampunk to see what it's all about. I've posted a picture of Nick so you can get a glimpse of what he does.
South Carolina was great fun. I'll be touring around Southern California for a while now but I can't wait to get back on the road.
So, tell me, do any of you have a South Carolina story you'd like to share?