Gilmer Author Featured at Ben Wheeler Book Fair on Nov. 30
Oct 30, 2013 | 4445 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

The second annual Ben Wheeler Book Fair on Nov. 30 brings 28 Texas authors – most of them from the Upper East Side of Texas – together to talk about and sell their books during the semi-annual 279 Artisans Trail celebration in Ben Wheeler and Edom.


“The book fair is a showcase for independent voices who might get lost in something like the recent Texas Book Festival in Austin, which attracted 230 authors and 40,000 visitors,” said organizer Tom Geddie. “Our smaller event is the perfect venue for readers and aspiring writers to talk face to face with our authors. When I first began putting this together, I was pleasantly surprised with both the number and the quality of writers in the region. Last year’s fair was satisfying and fun, and I expect even more this year.”


The 28 authors come from 21 cities: Ben Wheeler (4), Bonham, Bryan, Bullard, Dallas, Edgewood, Frisco, Garden Ridge, Gilmer, Jacksonville, Lindale (2), Longview, Mineola, Mount Pleasant, Murchison, San Antonio, Texarkana, Troup, Tyler (3), Wills Point, and one Texan coming all the way home from Diessenhofen, Switzerland. Their works span genres including children’s books, Christian fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, historical fiction, horror, humor, mystery, poetry, romance, and young adult fiction. Nonfiction authors include biography, children’s advocacy, memoir, music and culture, photography, and self help. A representative of Black Beauty Ranch will also be present to talk about and sell books about the nation’s largest animal sanctuary.


Evelyn M. Byrne from Gilmer will bring three paranormal romantic suspense novels and an anthology that includes some of her work: Unknown Magic, Stolen Magic, Lost Magic, and the anthology Tis the Season. She brings good Irish fairies into the human realm in the same way many authors have brought out the vampires and werewolves. The Dublin native owns White Bird Publications and is active in the East Texas Writers Association, East Texas Writers Guild, North East Writers’ Organization, and Romance Writers of America.


The chosen authors represent about half of the total number of authors who applied, helping assure the highest quality in a rapidly growing segment of the book world. Some of the authors attended last year’s first book fair; some are new to the fair.


University presses publish several of the authors; others are self-published, which has become a popular trend in the book world. The number of authors publishing their own books has nearly tripled since 2006, growing 287%, according to an analysis of data from Bowker, the world’s leading provider of bibliographic information to help publishers, booksellers, and libraries better serve their customers.


“Now, the best of the self-published books are as good as most of what is published by large, established companies,” Geddie said. “The advantage large companies have is in marketing, so that readers will be exposed to and have an opportunity to buy those books. The Ben Wheeler Book Fair is one of the many small ways for independent voices to be heard.”


The book fair will be in the restored Elwood Schoolhouse, 5475 FM 858 in downtown Ben Wheeler, sharing space with the Ben Wheeler Children’s Library.


The 279 Artisans Trail events support local artists. Organizers expect a good walk-in crowd to enjoy the restaurants, music venues, galleries, and retail shops along with special events in both Ben Wheeler and Edom. One of our authors, Richard Dobson, who John Prine called one of America’s best songwriters and who Nanci Griffith called the Hemingway of country music, will do a show at The Forge the night of the book fair. Across the street at Moore’s Store, local favorite Wesley Pruitt and his band will do an eclectic blues/soul/Americana show.


Book fair sponsors are Ben Wheeler Development Company and County Line Magazine. For more information, go to the book fair’s Facebook page,; also check out




Complete authors list (100-word summaries):


Avon Acker from Greenville will bring two historical fiction novels and a murder mystery. The murder mystery is Vigilante Caretaker, set in 1951 Hopkins County. The other two are Rom and the Promised Land, which depicts challenges faced by black freedmen after the Civil War and what some did to break free and start a new life, and Colfax: When Freedom Died, based on the Colfax Massacre near Alexandria in Grants Parish, Louisiana, described as one of the most shameful events in American history. Acker is an avid researcher and demands historical and geographical accuracy in all his novels.


Barbra Bass from Wills Point will bring her children’s book The Crocheted Santa, which asks the question, what do you get when you combine a young man, a Santa suit, and crochet work? The Crocheted Santa teaches, by weaving together family and tradition, the art of sharing with the whole town. She will also bring the crocheted Santa suit to display, along with the tiny wooden box shown in book.


John Borgstedt from Ben Wheeler will bring half a dozen books including I Love You Mom … Please Don’t Break My Heart, which tells of surviving horrendous abuse. World’s Largest Book Club named it a best book and the Houston Chronicle listed it among best Texas titles worth checking out. The book has also been made into a People’s Choice Telly award-winning documentary. The Texas Youth Commission chose it as an educational tool for at-risk teens and 25,000 retail stores around the world picked it up in its first three months. It has been featured by NBC, ABC, and CBS.


Jay Brakefield from Bryan will bring the expanded, updated version of Deep Ellum: The Other Side of Dallas,” written with Alan Govenar. The book strips away layers of myth to tell the real story of Deep Ellum, a cultural nexus that played a vital role in the careers of such seminal blues and jazz musicians as Blind Lemon Jefferson, T-Bone Walker and Buster Smith and influenced the development of western swing. The book explores universal themes of race, culture, and creativity. Brakefield is a retired journalist who became fascinated with African-American music while growing up in Houston and continues to research and write about the subject.


Ine Burke from Edgewood will bring three East Texas photography books. At first, she had a simple plan to pair photographs taken in random places during random journeys of running random errands, random events, and of random subjects. The books became history lessons of a sort for the region, helping her learn what has shaped today’s communities and to develop a deeper respect for the places and people. The Indonesian native was introduced to photography by her father and maternal grandfather before she went to civil engineering/construction management school and practiced it for 12 years in Indonesia and Singapore.


Evelyn M. Byrne from Gilmer will bring three paranormal romantic suspense novels and an anthology that includes some of her work: Unknown Magic, Stolen Magic, Lost Magic, and the anthology Tis the Season. She brings good Irish fairies into the human realm in the same way many authors have brought out the vampires and werewolves. The Dublin native owns White Bird Publications and is active in the East Texas Writers Association, East Texas Writers Guild, North East Writers’ Organization, and Romance Writers of America.


April Nunn Coker from Lindale will bring her nonfiction/Christian humor book I’m Dreaming of a Black Christmas: A Holiday Survival Guide which offers tips for saving money during the holiday season, and the romantic suspense novel Night Keeper, which tells the story of a young single mom and zookeeper who works the night shift at the local zoo and falls in love with a man a coworker set her up with, while at the same time dealing with strange happenings at the zoo. Coker recently retired from a 30-year career as a schoolteacher in Lindale, Mesquite, and Mabank.


Richard Dobson is returning to Texas from Switzerland with two memoirs. John Prine called Dobson one of the best American songwriters, and Nanci Griffith called him “the Hemingway of country music.” The Tyler native spent time in the 1970s in the fertile Houston music scene with Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, Rodney Crowell, and others. Clark, Griffith, David Allan Coe, Lacy J. Dalton, Carlene Carter and Dave Edmunds, Billie Jo Spears and Del Reeves, and the Carter Family are among those who covered his songs. Dobson will do an acoustic show at The Forge after the book fair.


Bob Doerr from Garden Ridge will bring five mystery novels, all set in the Southwest where his main character, Jim West, tries to enjoy retirement but is thrust into one murder mystery after another. Doerr grew up in a military family, graduated from the Air Force Academy, and spent his career specializing in criminal investigations and counterintelligence, gaining insight to the worlds of crime, espionage, and terrorism. One of his books won the 2013 Eric Hoffer Award and two more were finalists. Two won silver medals for fiction/mystery from the Military Writers Society of America.


Ruth Drayer from Tyler is the author of Nicholas & Helena Roerich, The Spiritual Journey of Two Great Artists & Peacemakers, the biography of a visionary Russian couple who sought to unite humanity through art and culture. The book, already translated into Italian and Spanish, is now being translated into Russian. It tells of two Russian visionaries who believed beauty could solve the world's problems and unify humanity. She is also author of Numerology, The Power in Numbers and is a visual artist and art instructor who is one of the principals in the Art of Peace Festival.


Ann Everett from Mount Pleasant will bring her humorous mystery books Laid Out and Candle Lit and You’re Busting My Nuptials. The series – a third book is due in 2014 – is set in Brownsboro. The widowed, single-mother Tizzy Donovan is known as the local girl who sometimes talks to the dearly departed. She becomes a murder suspect, she’s stood up at the altar, and she’s got plenty of sassy comebacks. For years, Everett was a stand-up comedian. Creator of the White Trash Facelift, halter tops, and beer bling bracelets, she thinks Texans are some of the funniest people on earth.


Ann Fields from Dallas will bring her horror novel Fuller’s Curse, which a woman looking into her family’s history finds terrifying information about her family. She hopes to disprove the legend of the BlackHeart, but family members begin to, one by one, die horrible deaths. She turns to the one person who knows everything about the family. Does she have the courage to complete the saving act and thereby end the Fuller’s curse? Fields has also published four romance novels (one was nominated for best multi-cultural romance by Romance Writers of America), a nonfiction book, and numerous magazine articles.


Book fair organizer Tom Geddie from Ben Wheeler will bring half a dozen books including a memoir, poetry, music criticism, short fiction, and what he calls a novel for the 21st century. The memoir is Reasons of My Own: Life after a Death Wish, self-examination of dealing with depression. He will also bring copies of Seasons of the Heart, a book of Patrick Ray’s poetry that he edited posthumously with Ray’s mother, Jean. Geddie writes for County Line Magazine and Dallas-based Buddy Magazine. He is also a photographer and creative writing teacher.


Barbara Renaud Gonzalez from San Antonio’s first novel, Golondrina, Why Did You Leave Me?, was the first Chicana fiction published by University of Texas Press, 2009. She will bring this novel and The Boy Made of Lightning: Willie Velasquez, American Hero. the first children’s interactive book on the life of voting rights champion Willie Velasquez. Gonzalez has a master’s in social work from the University of Michigan and did post-graduate work at Harvard. She publishes journalism, poetry, essays, and creative non-fiction based on her belief that writing is a way of seeking justice.


Imaj will bring her surreal, coming-of-age novel Harlow. The Dallas-area resident is also a country singer, songwriter, novelist, visual artist, actress, and humanitarian who is touring the United States with her first album and performed this summer with LeAnn Rimes and Collin Raye. She is the daughter of Philip Michael Thomas who starred in the original TV series “Miami Vice.” Her novel is set in 1937 England in the fictional countryside of Mortalis, where a bi-racial girl is confined to her father’s castle in a labyrinth of secrets, surfaced by the hidden agenda of a global elite.


Jim Jarvis from Ben Wheeler will bring his memoir, Try to Miss the Bob Wire, about a young boy’s adventures growing up. The veteran carpenter has written stories for four local newspapers and has been honored twice by the Texas Press Association and once by the Texas House of Representatives. He writes monthly for the Lakeview News in Chandler. His book is about the life and adventures of four adolescent brothers growing up in rural east Dallas County in the 1940s and 1950s.


Patricia La Vigne from Jacksonville will bring a young adult novel, Wind-Free, which tells the

story of a teen-aged girl, the foal she helps to rescue, and her association with the animal’s owners during a three-year period when she helps train the young thoroughbred for the Kentucky Derby and other races. La Vigne has taught special-needs children in the Jacksonville school district for 26 years.


Jean Lauzier from Longview will bring mystery, fantasy, and romance novels and short story collections: Six Pack Of Murder: Mystery Short Story Collection, Dragons of Jade, Dark Descent, Where the Heart is: Romance Serial, and I Wish...


Melinda Richarz Lyons from Tyler plans to bring four books: a young readers’ murder mystery set at the real historic antebellum Oaklands Mansion, a grief book written by a widow that covers issues not usually included in grief books, a fictional mystery/romance with a widow as the main character; and a humorous book about aging geared towards women. She is a longtime freelance writer and a songwriter whose work has been recorded by several Western artists. Her grief book, Crossing the Minefield, has been incorporated into bereavement programs in 20 states and won a Royal Palm Best Educational/Inspirational literary award.


Marvin S. Mayer from Tyler will bring three children’s picture and chapter books: Sammy Squirrel and the Sunflower Seeds, Ferdinand Frog's Flight, and The Day X Ran Away. Sammy is trapped and kidnapped; alone and frightened, he promises to find his way back home. Ferdinand Frog wants to fly, and makes a deal with Eric Eagle. X, the 24th letter in the English alphabet, feels unimportant and runs away, then discovers how people have difficulty without him. Mayer began writing children’s books after retiring from a career in banking, bank regulation, and financial management, and is an active volunteer.


J.L. Mbewe from Lindale will bring three fantasy books: The Clockwork Dragon Anthology, short stories about people facing demons locked in a clockwork dragon; Secrets Kept, a novel about a young woman, after her father’s death, is tossed into a chaotic world where she must join forces with a half-elf widower to find her mother and free the plains people from a curse before the sorceress unleashes an ancient evil; and The Tales of Nalu Collection One, a companion novella of three short stories set years before the opening scene of Secrets Kept.


C.R. Myers from Bullard will bring half a dozen novels – from the 25 she’s written – in the mystery/suspense, paranormal mystery, and children’s genres and the non-fiction book How to Write a Serial Novel & Be Ready to Publish in Less Than 24 Hours. The novels she’ll bring are The Black Ice Conspiracy, Shadows of Illusion, The Coming Darkness, The Red Rose Murders, Beware of the Nothings, and Victorious Vic. As a teacher and professional speaker, she designed and implemented her own creative writing course, and now works full-time as a free-lance journalist and novelist.


J.L. “Doc” Pendland from Bonham will bring two historical fictions. Warner Law is a fast-moving novel that follows the journey of one family after the Civil War. It’s loaded with humor, mixed with their quest for love, gold and justice. The Wagons of Perro Loco is a collection of nine stories set on the American frontier, during the 19th century, filled with watermelon races, a horse named Bitch, a long ride on the famous Butterfield Stage Line, and the faithful great danes Boy and Girl. Much of the humor is readily supplied by friends and relatives from their ancestors' experiences.


Anne Redelfs from Texarkana will bring her self-help book The Awakening Storm. which she calls a must-read to understand why we think, feel, and behave as we do — and, most importantly, how we can make vital changes. The book follows the retired psychiatrist’s urgent evacuation from New Orleans as Hurricane Katrina approached, and examines how people psychologically “evacuate” to avoid trauma. Her experiences with levee disaster survivors reveals how severe abuse and neglect can overwhelm our developing psyches when we become stuck in the youngest developmental stage where we can be unaware, unreceptive, and unwilling to alter our ways.


Bobbie J. Shafer from Troup will bring five young adult/family-friendly historical fiction books: Loves Golden Dream, Legacy of Eagle Creek, Miracle at Sycamore Grove, Mark of the Dragonfly, and Quest of the Sorcerer’s Staff. She has published more than 300 short stories in various magazines including Grit, Looking Back, Good Old Days, Venture Inward, Fate, Farm and Ranch Living, Texas Gardener, Florida Gardener, Small Farmers Magazine, Country, Country Woman, Country Living, Back Yard Living, Back Home, Country Extra, OutSmart, and more.


Robert L. Stevens from Ben Wheeler will bring Master Robert, a historical fiction about a man named Robert Stafford created a peculiar plantation society on Cumberland Island, Georgia, and became one of the wealthiest men in the United States at the end of the Civil War. His life and hardships are seen through the eyes of his two surrogate children. Stevens is professor of education at the University of Texas at Tyler. He has written five books and published 45 articles in professional journals. Master Robert is his first novel.


Melissa Walker from Mineola will bring her adult horror novel A Sense of Depravity, which she describes as a cross between Charles Bukowski’s “real gritty bluntness” and Stephen King’s horror stories. This one’s not for the kids. Walker spent years traveling with her archeologist father, moved to a foster home in Kansas where she was raised on a pig farm, and has lived in Austin, Reno, Lake Charles, Modesto, and now Mineola where she runs Uniques & Antiques, has a photography business, performs in theatrical events, gardens, and travels as often as life allows.


The book fair will also include a special guest from Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison. Offerings will include Ranch of Dreams, which tells the sanctuary’s history and stories of the animals that have lived there. The Cat Who Came for Christmas is the story of a stray cat finding his home with well known author and animal welfare pioneer Cleveland Amory.



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