#294–Bob Welch, William Sullivan & Melody Carlson headline 2021 FFOB . . .

For our 10th Anniversary of the Florence Festival of Books (FFOB), we’ve pulled out all the stops!

Keynote Speaker–Melody Carlson

Melody Carlson, Keynote Speaker.

For our Friday line-up. Melody Carlson, one of America’s most prolific and beloved Romance writers––of more than 250 books and more than one Hallmark movie––will be our Keynote Speaker Friday evening at 7 p.m. She has sold more than seven million books!

She has books for teens, tweens, children, and women. And most years, she has a special Christmas book. Many of her books are part of a series, ranging from three to 12 books. One of her books, Against the Tide, has the Siuslaw River Bridge on the cover, and I intend to buy it at this year’s FFOB.

Melody lives in Central Oregon and has participated as an author more than once at the FFOB. In 2018 she was one of our panelists where a variety of ways to publish were discussed. She was invited to be our Keynoter last year, but since we had to cancel, she graciously agreed to wait a year just like the rest of us. We are thrilled to have her as our Keynote Speaker for our 10th Anniversary.

Panel Discussion

Normally, we have four participants in our panel discussion, but because we have two writers of considerable acclaim, we are more than happy with two.

Bob Welch and William Sullivan will be participating in the panel discussion where the topic will be each writer’s pathway to becoming an author. Each has taken a different path and writes about different subjects, but each is the author of 20+ bestselling books. These two writers are among Oregon’s most popular and admired authors.

Bob Welch

Bob Welch, Friday afternoon panelist.

Bob is an author of at least 27 books, of which I have several. But he is much more. He is an inspirational speaker, an award-wining newspaper columnist, and writing teacher who has served as an adjunct professor of journalism at U of O.

Bob’s books are non-fiction and cover all aspects of life—his and others. Some are compilations of columns, others profile fascinating individuals. Some have to do with outdoor activities like hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. One of my favorites is Pebble in the Water about the rigorous research required to be able to write American Nightingale, The Story of Frances Slanger, Forgotten Heroine of Normandy.

Bob was the 2019 FFOB Keynote Speaker and left us all glad we had asked him to be our speaker. He has spoken at events throughout the country, and I’ve heard him numerous times here in Oregon.

He wrote a column three times a week for Eugene’s Register-Guard for 14 years during the 24 years he worked for the newspaper. He received numerous awards and retied from the newspaper in 2013.  After my first book, Crossings: McCullough’s Coastal Bridges, came out in 2011, Bob devoted one whole column to it. I was thrilled.

Most years, Bob holds his Beachside Writers Workshops somewhere in the state. And he also teaches workshops at Writers Conferences. I’ve taken at least one at the South Coast Writers Conference years ago. When I needed advice as to where to place my first book, Bob gave me suggestions that really worked out.

William “Bill” Sullivan

William Sullivan, Friday afternoon panelist.

William Sullivan, aka Bill, is the author of at least 22 books, of which I have several, and he also wrote a column for the Register-Guard for many years. He also teaches workshops at writers conferences, and he is involved with organizing three author events each year.

“Oregon Trails,” was a hiking column that he wrote for many years. He is best known for his column and his guide books. Most of his books are outdoor guides and all within the state of Oregon, but he has also written two histories, three memoirs, six novels, a play, a book of short stories, and Big Little Books for children.

One of his memoirs, Listening for Coyote, is the story of his 1,361-mile solo backpacking trek across Oregon in 1985. It was chosen as one of Oregon’s “100 Books” by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission and has been reprinted by OSU press.

I’ve attended two workshops taught by Bill at the South Coast Writers Conference. At the first one, he covered a lot of material and gave everyone a small hard “floppy disk“ (now obsolete) that had hundreds of printers listed with contact info from throughout the country that were worth using. I gave it to my publisher, and on it, he found a printer that we used for printing four of my books. Years later, I took another workshop from Bill. This time the subject was getting your book published and what types of books sell. He spent a lot of time on guides and he held up my book, The Crossings Guide to Oregon’s Coastal Spans, as a good example of a guide. I was tickled pink.

Bill organizes three author events in Eugene each year––the Oregon Authors Table at the Art & the Vineyard Festival (normally July 4, but in September this year), the Oregon Authors Table at the Lane County Fair, and the Authors and Artists Fair, a fundraiser for the Lane Library League at the Fairgrounds, each December. Bill is very much involved with the Lane Library League.


Because of my connection with both Bob Welch and Bill Sullivan during the past 15 years or so, I consider them both mentors. And I have enjoyed getting to know Melody Carlson during the past few years. So, I couldn’t be happier about our stellar lineup for the 10th Anniversary of the Florence Festival of Books. Mark your calendars for Friday, September 17, panel discussion, 3:00–4:30 p.m and Keynote Speaker, 7 p.m. And all three will be at the book fair on Saturday. All events  take place at the Florence Events Center. For more information about FFOB check the website www.florencefestivalofbooks.com and the Facebook page. See you in September!

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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