Monday, March 16, 2015

Reflections on the "Tucson Festival of Books"

Sunday I drove to Tucson to participate in the “Tucson Festival of Books.” There was a steady stream of traffic – and 18-wheelers – flowing to and from Phoenix - a bit white-knuckled for me trying to keep up with everyone who thought they were in the Indy 500.

At the Festival, I shared a table with 24 other authors who belong to the “Publishing and Book Promotion MeetUp Group.” Our booth was in a great location, except I had to park about a mile away. That’s ok, I got to see most of University of Arizona’s inner campus. Don’t tell my friends who are U of A alums (Richard, Melissa, Francis) and don’t tell my friends, the rival ASU alums (Brian, Chris, Brent), but the campus is lovely. I’d never really been in the middle of the campus before. I knew it was on Speedway, and I knew it was in downtown Tucson, which is in itself is pretty shady, so I generalized and formed a bad opinion, but I was wr…wr…wro…have altered my opinion, somewhat.

The festival was huge. They had booths representing bookstores, publishers, libraries, western novels,
fantasy novels, religious novels, and an entire aisle dedicated to children’s books. There was a food court that served up everything from green salads, to tamales, to Philly cheesesteak, to french-fried avocado strips with a dipping sauce. I walked around for an hour and a half and didn’t scrape the surface of the entire festival (ok, part of that time was eating the fried avocado strips and looking for a bathroom). They had all kinds of activities for children, like story time, performances, games…the list goes on.

I sold 8 Lonnie the Loon books! Thank you to my friend, Julie, who came by the booth to visit me and buy some of my books. The other purchasers were impressed with the Loon calls they heard with the QR Code Reader. What did I do with my profits? I bought books from my fellow “Publishing and Book Promotion” authors. Let me tell you about them.

Our fearless leader, Laura Orsini, has written numerous non-fiction books such as The Author’s Media Took Kit, Publish Your Book Already!, and Practical Philanthropy. She debuted her first work of fiction, Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, a story about a young man’s travels around the world. All her books can be found at

Julie Castro was kind to take my books to Tucson on Friday for Saturday’s sales, since I couldn’t be in Tucson until Sunday. Julie just published On Earth as It Is in Heaven: A Personal Allegory. In her book Julie shares the personal experiences she encountered while waiting for the man God called to be her husband. Julie published her book through her own publishing company,

I bought a book to send to my cousin, John, a retired firefighter. It’s called Tales From the Firehouse; Firefighters’ Stories of Calamity, Courage, & Caring, by Rebecca Joy. A retired firefighter/engineer, Rebecca published this collection of stories she witnessed over her 28 years of service in the industry. Visit her website at

I sat and chatted with Beth Kozan, author of Adoption: More Than By Chance. Beth has spent thirty-five years in adoption counseling birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees. Her book is a collection of stories about connections in adoptions – connections that seem more than by chance. You can contact her at

Robert McKenzie wrote a book titled, Stolen Love. It’s a true narrative of a boy and girl who belonged to a fundamentalist church that developed into a doomsday cult. The boy and girl fell in love but the leader of the cult forbad them to marry. It’s a journey of heartbreak and rediscovered love as they both broke away from this destructive cult. You can find more information at

Another author, Edward C. Spites, gave me his book, Government of Wolves, because I told him I like to read conspiracy and suspense novels. This is a fictional book that will take the reader through a web of deceit, lies, corruption, murder, and betrayal.  Edward’s book can be found on Amazon,

Reflecting back on my day at the “Tucson Festival of Books,” I enjoyed meeting and talking to my fellow authors, watching book lovers as they browsed through each booth, eating fried avocados, eavesdropping as my table mates talked politics, and learning a little more about promoting my books. I joined the Indy 500 on my drive back to Phoenix as the sun was setting and dusk fell over the desert.

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