My book, Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges, has taken over my life. That could be my daily mantra––it has taken over my life; it has taken over my life––during these past three months. This week is a good example.
Last Friday, fellow author Connie Bradley and I headed to Grants Pass. Since it is a three-hour drive one-way, we spent the night. We were there as the only authors at a weekly summer authors fair at Oregon Books and Games, a great book store. They had a table for us out front and were extremely helpful. We were in the shade, thank goodness, as the temps on Friday reached 86 degrees and on Saturday 95. Since we’re from the coast, we wilt when it gets above 80.
I should mention that Connie’s book that she wrote is a delightful children’s book called Snowball: The Nanny Goose of Sutton Lake. We shared the same table, and I learned all over again that it doesn’t pay to compete with children or animals—especially animals in a beautifully illustrated children’s book that costs less than half the price of my book. Many oohed and ahhed over mine but bought Connie’s. So she ended up selling 18 over two days and I only three. However, the bookstore took five and I sold one to friends of Connie that had dinner with us. One of my goals was to spread the word about the book, and I did.
I also got to walk over the 6th Street Bridge designed by McCullough and kept an eye on it during dinner, as it was in full view from the restaurant where we ate Friday evening.
We arrived home Saturday night, and by Sunday afternoon, house guests had arrived. These were expected friends, Jim and Midori, whom I have known and kept in touch with since college days. I was thrilled to see them because I couldn’t last summer, when they wanted to come. I was working night and day to finish the book, which had a looming deadline. This year, the book still played a part in our visit. Jim had read it and had a million questions. He also wanted to see some of the bridges.
On Monday, we walked along Florence’s Bay Street in Old Town and wandered into shops and galleries, but only because they were on the way to the bridge. We walked out to the middle of the Siuslaw River Bridge and then walked around underneath it. Jim, as a scientist, noticed minute pieces of wood left over from the forms in the reinforced concrete, as well as some exposed rebar. He also wanted to know why the concrete felt rougher closer to town, and did the prevailing winds have anything to do with it. I didn’t know! Jim was simply fascinated with everything about the McCullough bridges. So after lunch we headed up the coast and stopped at the Cape Creek and Cummins Creek bridges, slowed down on the Big Creek and Tenmile bridges, and stopped to see how book sales were going at Cape Perpetua. Of course, we also went up to the top to see the big view from Cape Perpetua’s overlook. We talked bridges nearly nonstop—on the drive, through dinner, and after dinner. And, yes, they bought extra copies of Crossings for family members.
By 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, they were headed north and by 1:30 p.m., I was taking notes (as the secretary and co-chairman along with Connie) of a group that is putting together a fall authors/publishers fair in Florence to be called the Florence Festival of Books. I was responsible for the minutes and rough drafts of a cover letter, info sheet, and a couple of lists. That kept me busy for the next couple of evenings. And I can blame all this extra work on the book. If I hadn’t written it, I wouldn’t be an author trying to get my book out there. That’s why Connie and I were part of the weekly authors fairs at the bookstore in Grants Pass, why we will be attending a big one in Lincoln City that will attract dozens of people on August 27, and why we decided to have our own.
On Wednesday, I was in my usual post as a volunteer at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum. That day, many of our visitors were interested in the Siuslaw River Bridge photos upstairs. I ended up in many bridge related discussions that, surprise, surprise, I didn’t initiate.
Then Thursday I was on the phone to bookstores in Florence, Reedsport, and Eugene. By the time I hung up, I had sold 25 books. I also delivered five books to the lodge store at Honeyman State Park. Thirty books . . . not a bad day!
Tomorrow, Friday, I leave about 7:30 a.m. for Eugene where I will take a friend with me and deliver books to three bookstores before setting up for an 11 o’clock presentation at Willamette Oaks, a retirement living center. Afterwards, we’ll join another friend for lunch and then deliver books to a fourth bookstore and see if the historical museum wants more. And I need to get back to Florence to set up at 6:30 for a 7 p.m. presentation at Honeyman State Park south of town.
Did I mention that this blankety-blank book has taken over my life?
Crossings Presentation by Judy in July:
• July 29, 7 p.m.––Honeyman State Park Campground, B Loop, Amphitheater, couple miles south of Florence
Judy will also be attending an Author’s Fair:
• August 27, noon–3 p.m.––Bob’s Beach Books (west side just north of 17th on Hwy 101), Lincoln City