Last Friday and Saturday, November 1st and 2nd, I was in Texarkana, Texas, for The Fall Gathering of Authors. Charity Kountz and Rich Weatherly from my writers’ group also attended. In fact, Rich was the one who got Charity and me interested.
This was the fourth year this annual fund-raiser for St. Jude’s Hospital has taken place. Taken place? No, it didn’t just take place. It was put together by Tammy D. Thompson, shown below, who puts her heart and soul into this event—along with no small amount of her time and energy. There were twenty-six authors involved. Most were from Texas, but there was a smattering from elsewhere.
We started off with a mix and mingle session on Friday afternoon, where all the authors who were available sat around getting to know one another a little bit. Then, on Friday evening, there was a banquet honoring authors.
Yes, we were part of that, but there were some very important authors from the local community. Each year, a group of students—primarily middle-schoolers—write stories to be put into a book, which is sold at the event. They write about events in their lives, people who are important to them, and so forth. That evening, four of these kids who were judged to have written the best stories received awards and read their stories to us.
Probably the highlight of the evening featured a family who testified about St. Jude and how the hospital helped their son who was diagnosed with cancer at the age of nine. Now twelve, he is cancer-free.
In case there’s anyone on the planet who is not familiar with St. Jude, it’s located in Memphis, and its mission is to provide free treatment for children with devastating diseases. They even provide free room and board for the families of the patients. I have a cousin who’s alive and cancer-free today because of this hospital.
Saturday was the book-signing. All the kids with stories in their book were there to sign copies for everyone who bought one, and I promise they sold a lot more copies than the rest of us put together. Here are some of the kids involved.
Our part on Saturday was pretty standard book-signing fare, except that Tammy and her assistants served as sorta cheerleaders, urging people to visit our tables and buy our books. They also had a number of giveaways for people who had bought the lucky tickets.
There were many other locals helping Tammy whose names I didn’t get. One of her main assistants, however, was Connie Thomason.
Connie spent a lot of time with a microphone in her hand, conducting the lottery for the donated prizes and encouraging people to buy our books. She was a real sweetheart.
Charity Kountz and I shared a table with good visibility for people coming into the building, which helped us both sell some books. We were among the first to arrive, which allowed us to get this spot.
On the right side of the photo, you can see the sign Tammy made to identify us, along with the easel she provided. I brought my Heaven Sent and Fancy Vol 1 to sell, along with one copy each of volumes two through seven.
You can see both of our signs in this photo, which includes our new friend Patty Wiseman. Unfortunately, Rich was the photographer (He told me he took well over 100 pictures.), and we didn’t end up with one which included him. By the way, the empty tables are because the photos were taken before the event started. They all filled up by the time the public arrived.
All in all, it was a fun weekend, raising funds for a worthwhile organization, selling some books, and meeting some new friends. If you have a book to sell and an opening in your calendar, join us next November for this wonderful event. You’ll enjoy the weekend and be treated like royalty.
WANA: We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
For more information about David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.
For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.
Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.
Great recap of the event David! It was a fun event and definitely made even more special because of who I attended with. Had I gone alone, I might have been a bit nervous but going with other writing friends really helps. I highly encourage writers groups to participate in this fun and worthwhile event. Plus Tammy is amazing!
I’ll definitely be back next year. Hope you will be, too.
David – Sounds like a fun time was had by all.
It definitely was, Sheri. If Texarkana isn’t too far for you to travel, you’d enjoy it.
Authors have a super time together, don’t they? St Jude’s is such a fine cause to support . I LOVED how those young writers were involved – fabulous idea!
The people who run this event do it right, Pat. Thanks.
Glad to hear it went well. And a very worthy cause.
This sounds like a really good event, David. I am glad that you sold some books, made some new friends, and helped support St. Jude’s Hospital.
Thanks, Barb. All three were very worthwhile.
An interesting and worthwhile event. So glad you and your friends Charity and Rich attended.
Thanks. It was well worth it.