Literature and Literacy go hand in hand
It’s not even Christmas and I’m already forward to two big events in 2015.
There have been some wonderful 2014 highlights with Vendetta Stone, from discussing my debut novel with my former Tennessean editor and publisher John Seigenthaler on “A Word on Words” to appearances at major events that draw thousands of people – events like the Decatur Book Festival in Atlanta, the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, the Jack Daniels Barbecue World Championship Cookoff and most recently Dickens of a Christmas in Franklin.
But 2015 will kick off with a couple of special events that will hold a special meaning to me.
Up first on January 29 is the grand opening of the new state-of-the-art Bellevue Public Library. It is going to be a magnificent facility – a gleaming 25,000 square foot building that will includes meeting space, a large computer space with 50 public use computers, areas for children and teenagers, a reading porch and outdoor classrooms and even a walking path.
Mayor Karl Dean will lead the grand opening ceremonies that will feature both Bellevue and Nashville dignitaries. But those ceremonies wouldn’t be complete without the presence of several Nashville authors whose works are featured in the library.
Steven Womack, who has published a dozen novels, winning an Edgar Award for Dead Folks’ Blues and a Shamus Award for Murder Manual. His latest novel, written in collaboration with New York City-based screenwriter Wayne McDaniel, is Resurrection Bay (2014).
Alana White, whose historical mystery The Sign of the Weeping Virgin, was a Silver Falchion Award Finalist at Killer Nashville 2013.
Jaden Terrell is a Shamus Award nominee who writes the Jared McKean series, including the just-released River of Glass.
Andrew Maraniss is the author of the well-received book about Vanderbilt basketball, Strong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South.
Kristin O’Donnell Tubb is a children’s author whose fantasy debut, The 13th Sign (2014), was called “the ultimate astrological fantasy” by Kirkus Reviews.
Tracy Barrett is a YA author whose most recent works are Dark of the Moon, a retelling of the myth of the minotaur, and King of Ithaka, based on Homer’s Odyssey.
The format isn’t yet set and more authors will be announced in the near future. We hope to see you in Bellevue next month.
And if you live outside Nashville, I will be at the Coffee County Manchester Public Library on January 17 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Other authors include Trevor Cooley, Jackie Duncan, Teresa Hall, Samuel Hawkins, D.L. Holliday, Heard Lowry, Elena Parton, Weldon Payne, Chuck Schumacher, Jason Tate, Thomas Vaughn, Alana White, Wayne R. Wolford, Judith Yates and Alisha Yockey.
And if you live on the Upper Cumberland, I will be at The Book Cellar in Crossville on Saturday, December 20, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Hope you make it to one of these events.
My other exciting news for 2015 is that I have partnered with the Tennessee Literacy Coalition to combat illiteracy in the state.
Here is their – and now my – Mission Statement: The Tennessee Literacy Coalition supports and promotes adult learning, transforming the lives of adults who seek to enhance their fundamental use of language – to read, write, communicate, and ultimately to succeed.
As an author, I feel compelled to do what I can to help people improve their reading skills. We tell stories and open doors to the imagination that might otherwise be closed.
If you donate $20 (or more) to the non-profit, you will receive a free copy of Vendetta Stone. In March, I will be speaking at their statewide conference. It’s an important issue that all too often gets overlooked and needs your support. Call
Season to Remember: For most of us, the Christmas season never truly resembles the one envisioned by iconic American artists Norman Rockwell and Thomas Kincade. But we enjoy glimpses and slices of Christmases Past at events like the December 6-7 Lockeland Springs Christmas Tour of Homes or the December 13-14 Dickens of a Christmas in Franklin.
I just participated in the latter with a group of local authors among the many dancers, street musicians and vendors on hand both days. I was selling copies of my debut novel, Vendetta Stone, a fictional true-crime thriller about one man’s quest to find the animal who murdered his wife. It’s a pretty entertaining and intense story about how the media and police deal with revenge-minded Nashville advertising executive Jackson Stone as he issues a public challenge to a serial killer.
But it’s just that – a story. Fiction. Make-believe. A tall tale.
For others, in Nashville and elsewhere, the Christmas season is haunted by very real memories of loved ones they lost to violent crime.
We hear about and share in their stories and their grief when they are in the news, but for the most part we are not thinking of those tragedies during a season when we are so focused on our own families.
No more. My heart goes out to the families of homicide victims and if you would like to join me in showing emotional support for these families, there are two upcoming Season to Remember events sponsored by Gov. Bill Haslam which I would urge you to consider attending.
If you missed the first event on December 4, at 5:30 at First Baptist Church, there is a second one of Thursday, December, 11, at 5:45 p.m. at Centennial Park.
If you are in another city or state, I would urge you to find a similar event to attend.
Thanks for reading.