Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rose Glen 2014

Sevierville Convention Center

The fifth annual Rose Glen Literary Festival was held last Saturday in Sevierville. And the 2014 installment of the popular event moved to a new venue: The Sevierville Convention Center on Gists Creek Road off Hwy 66.

Rose Glen is designed as a vehicle for local authors to come together once a year and talk about and sell their books. I've been a part of Rose Glen since the beginning, even serving as the initial keynote speaker at the luncheon. Since then, local authors Dr. Bill Bass, Fred Brown and Bill Landry have keynoted. This year's speaker at the noon banquet was popular News Sentinel columnist Sam Venable.

Special thanks to Carroll McMahan and Brenda McCroskey and the rest of the staff of the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce for organizing Rose Glen. 

One of my favorite aspects of the festival is getting to meet and talk to other writers. Two years ago, I met Luke Copas, promoted as the youngest author there. He penned and illustrated a book about the tragic sinking of the world's most famous ocean liner called, "Facts for Kids about the Titanic." Luke is well on his way of becoming a Titanic historian; he's now working on his third book about the 1912 disaster.
J.L. and Lin Stepp have a new book about the recreational side of the national park. Titled "The Afternoon Hiker," the book offers pleasant casual hikes in the Smokies. The hiking guide features color photos throughout.  Lin has also written several romances set in the region, "Tell Me about the Orchard Hollow (2010), "The Foster Girls, (2011), "For Six Good Reasons (2011), "Delia's Place" (2012), "Second Hand Rose" (2013) and the upcoming "Down by the River."

Event organizer and historian Carroll McMahan has a new book of his own, "Elkmont's Uncle Lem Ownby: Sage of the Smokies." Growing up in Gatlinburg, I remember when everyone's Uncle Lem still lived upstream from the Elkmont Campground. He had sold his land to the national park movement in the early 1900s but with the agreement that he got to live on it until his death. And Uncle Lem lived a long time. 

Beloved storyteller Bill Landry was on hand. His latest book "Tellin' it for the Truth" looks back on many of the people and stories he encountered during his three decades as the spokesman for the "The Heartland Series" aired by WBIR Channel 10. Others involved in the creation of the show, the best documentation of all that's East Tennessee, were my friends Steve Dean, Linda Billman and Doug Mills.

This year's keynoter Sam Venable, is a stranger to no one having had what he calls the "best job in Knoxville" for the past 40 years: columnist for the News-Sentinel. When asked how many books he has written, Sam replied "a bunch." He wasn't being glib, he probably doesn't know off the top of his head. I have several on my shelves and am lucky that he wrote the introduction for my first book. Sam's latest, or at least I think it's his latest, is "How to Tawlk and Rite Good," a look at how we East Tennesseans—and he is one—play with the language. 

Perhaps, my biggest surprise was to learn my friend at WBIR, Emily Stroud has herself penned a novel. "Broken News," a "work of fiction" draws on her experience as a news reporter for several television stations. Always smiling, always energetic, I can't wait to read this "fictional" behind the scenes look at television news. We know what goes on in front of the camera, what about behind? Even if it is fictional, there has to be a grain of truth in her book. Caution: It may contain "salty" language. 

Since I also illustrate my books, I generally spend time at Rose Glen talking to young people about drawing. All kids draw, some, like me, do it all their lives. I met Jordan Roberts several years ago at the festival (she's gotten taller, I grayer) and enjoy seeing her every year to talk about art. She likes to draw animals, as I do. Here's a photo of her holding one of my recent butterfly pen and inks.
And to all of the dozens of authors I didn't get to meet and talk to this year, there's always next year's Rose Glen set for the last Saturday in February, 2015.

Michelle and Carroll McMahan and moi
Me with young author Luke Copas and his fan club
They've written a bunch: Sam Venable, Lin Stepp and Bill Landry
Always smiling Emily Stroud and myself. Photo by Luke Copas

No comments: