Here is a review by Arlyna: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1994021671
The Small Step Journey
Author: Chris Parsons
Every journey begins with a step. Some would have you believe the destination is more important than the journey one travels to get there. Either way, Chris invites you on hir journey of multiple steps through this journey of life. There are mountains and valleys; love gained, lost, evolved; great loss and gain; walks on the beach, and even lessons taught and learned from hir grasshopper(child).
Each poem, each stanza is guaranteed to take you on steps you may have experienced in your own journey, or help you empathize with those who have travelled these not always easy roads.
Walk a mile in hir moccasins.
I had a fantastic time this Father’s Day weekend. I went to Jacksonville to visit my Dad and spend precious time with him, and this allowed me to be closer to the book signing event I was to attend in Tallahassee. Being at Dad’s cut my travel time in half, from four hours to two. That made the weekend even more awesome!
I headed over to Tallahassee amid scattered showers, but all in all, the roads were clear and the traffic was light. Not very scenic, no hills and valleys in Florida, but overall, a nice drive. I arrived with plenty of time to spare, The store wasn’t open for business yet, so I went to a local coffee shop and scored a donut and iced coffee, YUM. As I said, I arrived early, unlike Riley Scott and her lovely wife Heather #lesbianfabio, lol. (Guess which one is Heather,lol)
They live further into the Florida Panhandle, and did not realize that they would be crossing a time zone. That’s right! Some of Florida is in a different time zone. Imagine that! Good thing they left extra early, and so still managed to arrive on time.
There was an awesome lineup of writers signing books. I dosed up on allergy medicine and prepared to dive in. No, I’m not allergy to bookstores and lesbians, but you know … lesbians, and …cats. The cat part is not good for me. Sorry kitties!
Becky Harmon, known to many as Becky Arbogast(she thought that was too much of a mouthful, so took the pseudonym), but known to most as Becky from Bella. Becky writes romance, and thrillers with romance. I opted for the thriller/romance, Tangled Mark.
Mercedes Lewis, believe it or not, I was the debut writer, with only one book. I’ve got to do something about that soon! Oh, I didn’t purchase that one. I already have it!
M.E. Logan, who has also been writing for quite a while and is with Bella also. I selected Lexington Connection. Have you seen that cover?
Riley Scott, a lovely young writer from Bella, whose work you should check out if you haven’t. I can’t wait to read Backstage Pass.
Sheila Ortiz-Taylor, an icon in lesbian literature, used to write for the formidable Barbara Grier with Naiad. Check out her back catalogue, and her current books with Spinsters Ink. I picked up Assisted Living. I was in awe of meeting her, and to be signing with her, just wow!
The venue was lovely and spacious, and the staff was phenomenal. The store looks like a university library, teeming with new and old books. They accept books from customers, and, I actually heard the staff calling people on a wait list for used books to come in. Darn! I wanted Hidden Figures and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I wanted those books! I should have checked the bag first, lol. No, I would try to skip the waitlist customers, but I must admit that I did think it for a second. Hey! I’m only human. …and books.
We met the owner, who may be the only person on the planet who likes purple as much or more than I do! They even put your purchases in a lovely purple cloth bag.
We had a nice crowd trickling in,
in spite of major downpour, thunder and lightning. Guess who saw, and who heard,lol. It happened just as I snapped the shot. Scary AND loud!
I sold 10 books. OF POETRY. Awesome! Because, you know, no one (purportedly) likes poetry.
Afterward we got together before our drives back to different corners of the state and had a nice pizza meal. I have never seen slices this size. I missed the food photo op, but this is the box, and the slice filled it up!
It was great time, I can’t wait for the next signing.
The Dead Guy
Author: Taylor James
I could tell something about this author right away, before even opening the book; she has a sense of humor. Any mystery book titled The Dead Guy HAS to have humor, right?
Well, Taylor James did not disappoint with the subtle, often dry humor of her characters. I generally don’t like books that begin, and are told with ‘I’, but, the style lends well to a mystery, and invites you to be a part of the action, rather than a voyeur looking in.
At one point I was worried about continuity, because Sydney, the main character, did not mention her broken hand, or the cast for a while, so I thought it was a ‘lost thread’. After all, she did get it tripping over the dead guy. Then, when it came up again, I realized it was perfect! Someone who has a broken limb or cast does not mention it every moment, and anyone with eyes can see that it is damaged. I was also worried about whatever was under the porch. Sydney assumed it was a dog. After a while I worried that it might be a wild animal, or even the killer. (I have a very active imagination, lol.)
It’s a mystery, so I won’t give away any clues, or plot points, but suffice to say, it was an enjoyable ride, getting to ‘who done it’, and why. Awesome twist and surprise at the conclusion, for me.
Great plot, fully developed secondary characters(even the old ladies), good laughs, possible romance, and a good mystery? Yep, all of that! I thoroughly enjoyed this light mystery. This was an easy, and fun read.
The book festival at Amelia Island was fantastic! I was there for the expo, and for a reading at Slider’s Seaside Grill. The event was sponsored by GCLS for the Southeast Region. Several of my fellow writers were present: Ali Spooner, Renee MacKenzie, Alison Solomon, Mercedes Lewis, C.D. Cain, Liz Bradbury, Gwen Mayo, and Sarah Glenn. SW Andersen was also in attendance!
Location, location, location
Amelia Island itself is a lovely little place. It is not on the beaten path, but not too far off. You can drive to the island, or you can fly into Jacksonville International Airport, rent a vehicle, and get there in about 30 – 45 minutes. The month of February is ‘off season’, so the island is not overcrowded, but the weather and beaches were still beautiful. The Amelia Island Book Festival is held in the local Fernandina Middle School. There were over 100 writers in attendance, representing everything from children’s books to thrillers. Part of the fun was networking and meeting many mainstream writers that I had not heard of before.
We attended the Expo during the day. We had the best table in the place, just inside the door, right next to the Partners In Crime table! People had to pass us coming and going. This was the first time the GCLS(Golden Crown Literary Society) had a presence. May people stopped by to talk, purchase books, and find out more about our organization. The fact that we represented lesbian literature was well received.
Later in the evening we did readings of some of our work at Sliders Seaside Grill. As with any first-time endeavor, there were challenges, but we managed to rise about them. Once we worked out the sound issues (there was no mic, and we were competing with a band downstairs), we were well on our way. Thank goodness for modern technology, and (MacGyver) lesbians who know how to work stuff out! LOL We set up a microphone using a cellphone and some speakers, and I warmed up the audience for the rest of the gang with poetry.
My poetry was actually well received. Many people stopped by after to compliment me. They really enjoyed it, could relate, and many said they had a new appreciation of poetry. No one left. In fact, even those that said they needed to leave early stayed for all the readings. It was great! At the end of the evening, the city commissioner and previous board members of the AIBF invited, and insisted we come back for the event going forward! It is heartwarming to feel so welcomed and accepted.
Also, I have read my poetry in public before, but this time if was different. My birthday was the day before, and my publisher contacted me to let me know that my book went to the printer that morning.
Happy birthday to me! For the first time, I actually felt as though I was reading from a book. MY book. It was awesome. And, I just went on Amazon, and the book is listed there!
Now for the swagfest! lol
Yep. Thought I was being pretty smart. I was executing this move with military precision. In fact, now that I think about it, it was almost exactly like a military relocation. …only in reverse, kind of, lol.
In the military, when you move, they come a pick up your essentials first and ship them out so that they arrive before you get there(hopefully). They do this because the rest of your stuff will be arriving months later, on a VERY slow boat!
Well, for my move, I had it all planned out, it had to be precise, especially with working around the holidays and all. I would take over some essentials and small things, which I did. Then, I would have the big stuff delivered so it could be placed and situated, and then on the final sweep they would bring the remainder. The beauty was to be that these were things that I could ‘take my time’ unpacking, and could do so without the whole house feeling like it was still in chaos. And, … it would all be completed before the current lease expired. HA!
First there was working around the fact that the community decided to pave MY street just when I was planning to move. No problem! After all, even with the holiday, this month has five full weeks. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy! Right?
Wrong! Absolutely wrong. Almost, but no cigar. My Dad is in the hospital. He will have surgery on Monday. Is it serious? Eh, probably not. Am I scared? Hell yes? Is this Daddy’s girl dropping everything and going to see about her old sea dog? Ya damn skippy!. As planned, I’ll take care of the big stuff today, and potentially I could see him through on Monday and still get back to take care of the rest, but I do believe that I am being told not to depend on MY plans.
So, later today, I find out if my lessor is human and has a heart to work something out with me, just in case, or a corporation which, regardless of what ANYONE tells you, is NOT a person, and only cares about the bottom line. We shall see. Wish me luck!
Proverbs 16:9 We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. (The Living Bible)
KJV – A man’s heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps.
Robert Burns – The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry
Me – Stepping out
…because I know you got me …
A bonus, just because I love it.