#72–Crossings has changed my life . . .


Two years ago, I had just completed writing the manuscript for Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges. At that time, I had no idea what would be involved with marketing. I had no idea the book would be so successful. I had no idea that I would be asked to speak here, there, and everywhere. I had no idea that because of the book, I would be considered somewhat of an authority on the coastal bridges. Writing Crossings has changed my life.

 Crossings has changed my life in many ways.

Because of the book, I’ve been asked to be a part of the celebration of the historic Arch bridge’s reopening celebration this weekend in Oregon City. This is the bridge that continues Hwy 43 across the Willamette River between Oregon City and West Linn. It’s a McCullough bridge built in 1922 and was one of the first to show his genius in bridge design. It has been closed since January 2011 and undergone a major renovation to the tune of $15.1 million.

Oregon City’s historic Arch Bridge is celebrating its 90th birthday by reopening to traffic after nearly two years of renovations.

I’m the lead-off speaker among a roster of speakers who are true experts about Oregon bridges—Chris Leedham has worked as a bridge designer for ODOT for the past 30 years and Robert W. Hadlow, the acknowledged expert on McCullough and his bridges, whom I quoted often in my book.  This is the farthest away I’ve gone to give my PowerPoint presentation and to an audience that may be thinking of me more as an expert and where I won’t see familiar faces. I’ll be definitely stepping out of my comfort zone.

Here I’m at the Bandon Public Library giving my PowerPoint presentation on the book and the bridges. Here is a photo of the demolition of the original Alsea Bay Bridge.

Speaking before a group with a PowerPoint presentation was itself a new experience just a year and a half ago. Those first few times, I was a nervous wreck. Now, because I’ve done it about 35 times since the first one at Port Hole Books in April 2011, I no longer fear speaking in front of a group or being interviewed on radio or TV.

Here I’m being interviewed by Dr. Veronica Esagui for the Portland area  TV show, the “Author’s Forum.”

Part of the reason is that I tend to over prepare. For every presentation, I hook everything up and practice with a timer and make small changes to fit individual audiences. For interviews, I try to anticipate questions and put important points on cards. So I’m usually super ready, and that helps give me confidence and allows me to enjoy the experience.

On another front, I’ve been out of my comfort zone since last May when I stepped into the role of chair person on the Florence Festival of Books. First of all, I wouldn’t be involved in the book fair if I wasn’t an author. So I blame this on Crossings too.

Next year in early June, similar notices will alert authors and publishers to the 3rd Annual Florence Festival of Books to be held on September 28, 2013.

I was very comfortable last year as the co-chair with Connie Bradley providing the leadership and contacts and much of the decision making. I simply wrote the minutes, the press releases, the follow-up letters, and other communication and discussed every agenda item. We were a team. But when her husband became ill in May, I had to go it alone, I was glad I had her as a role model to follow and a terrific committee to work with. I kept thinking she would be back soon, that it was a temporary situation. Not so. Finally, she was able to attend the actual event, and she attended the evaluation meeting afterwards to fill us in on what has been happening since May. Her husband in on the mend. Much better!

Nowadays when I run errands around town, many more people know me. That’s because they have either seen or bought Crossings, been at one of my presentations, or were involved with or attended the Florence Festival of Books.

And now I’ve been able to turn much of what I learned in writing Crossings into a second book––both in the content and the how-to of putting a book together. In the first book, each step was a learning experience. It’s easier the second time around for both the publisher and me. It was publisher Bob Serra’s first book to publish besides the telephone book that he does each year.

Here I am with publisher Bob Serra and Dick Smith, who wanted his research put into book form.

This past week, I had a chance to reflect on just how much Crossings has changed my life, while I was  staining  my decks and painting my garage doors . . . . Quite a chain of events was begun when Dick Smith asked me to take his research and put it into a book back in 2007. Who knew!



Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges can be yours for $24.95 plus $4.99 shipping. Order from Pacific Publishing at http://www.connectflorence.com or pacpub@oregonfast.net. It is also available on the coast in bookstores, museums, and gift shops; in Eugene at the airport, the historical museum, and several bookstores; in Portland at Powell’s and the Oregon Historical Society; in Made in Oregon stores throughout the state; and more and more bookstores, libraries, and museums in western Oregon. This book makes a good coffee-table book. With the holidays coming up, it would be an excellent gift.


The second book The CROSSINGS Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans––will cover 15 bridges and have at least one color and one historic photo for each one. The cost will be $10 + $3 shipping. This book will also be published through Pacific Publishing. This guide with its sturdy cover and spiral binding will travel well. When heading for the coast, don’t leave home without it.

Current happenings:

The half-hour interview with Dr. Veronica Esagui for the “Author’s Forum” program on public access TV in the Portland Metro area ended it’s two-week run June 1-14, 2012, but can be seen on YouTube in two parts: Google Judy Fleagle YouTube.

Upcoming events:

October 13, 11 a.m., Historic Arch Bridge Reopening, Oregon City––The historic Arch Bridge designed by McCullough reopens in Oregon City on the weekend of October 13–14. I have been asked to be part of the festivities and will be giving my PowerPoint presentation at the Museum of the Oregon Territory on Saturday. The actual bridge reopening celebration will be on Sunday, and I’ll be there.

November 6, 5:30 p.m., PEO Meeting, private home––Twenty-minute talk on the book and the part it played in the 75th anniversary celebrations of 2011. Only open to PEO members.

About crossingsauthor

Judy Fleagle spent 22 years teaching 1st and 2nd grades and 21 years as editor/staff writer with Oregon Coast and Northwest Travel magazines.Since 2009, she has written five books: "Crossings: McCullough's Coastal Bridges," "The Crossings Guide to Oregon's Coastal Spans," "Around Florence," "Devil Cat and Other Colorful Animals I Have Known," and "The Oregon Coast Guide to the UNEXPECTED!!!."
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3 Responses to #72–Crossings has changed my life . . .

  1. Brenda Howe says:

    Judy, It’s really exciting.:-)
    I’m excited to be teaching in the nursing program again this year. The MSN is paying off. I’m also E-mail communicating with an editor at Springer Publishing (I worked /c Lippincott on the study guide published in2005). I’mhoping to be involved I developing a text book. 🙂 Hi to Connie. Thought about trying to make it for the book event, but100 yr anniver for EMANUEL HOSPITAL SCHOOLOF NURSING inception to present. I’m in Portland for a student reunion tomorrow. Take care!

  2. Don Meyer says:

    My, my. You are a busy one. You never really know all your talents until you are forced to use them.

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