150th Anniversary of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address


Today, November 19th, marks the 150th Anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg Address. This anniversary is being honored by a Dedication Day Ceremony in the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg National Military Park in Gettysburg, PA.

You can watch a live stream of the ceremony here. The wreath laying begins at 10 a.m. and opening remarks at 10:15 a.m.

Gettysburg National Military Park will be hosting numerous events throughout the weekend in honor of the Dedication Day anniversary. A full list of these events can be found here.

James and Suzanne Gindlesperger, authors of So You Think You Know Gettysburg?   will also be on hand for the festivities, with a book talk and signing Saturday, November 23, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the American Civil War Museum and Gift Center.

Time for the “ACC Basketball Book of Fame” Launch Party

It’s party time! And everyone is excited.

Join us to celebrate the launch of Dan Collins’ The ACC Basketball Book of Fame tomorrow, September 11, at The Community Arts Cafe, 411 West Fourth Street, Winston-Salem, NC, from 5:30 to 7 p.m.

Come and grab some bball cake pops. (image via http://cakepopsbyrandi.blogspot.com/2011/07/basketball-cake-pops.html)

Who can resist sports-themed cake pops?
(image via http://bit.ly/1fUOo6x)

Get your book signed then stick around to enjoy refreshments and original music performed by “Country” Dan Collins. Not only will Collins be debuting some new songs inspired by his favorite ACC players, he will also be leading a sing-along of Sail with the Pilot for long-time North Carolina ACC viewers.

What self-respecting ACC fan would insulate their drink with anything besides a basketball koozie?

Win one of these! What self-respecting ACC fan would insulate their drink with anything besides a basketball koozie?

Do you know which ACC player got a special call from author Stephen King? Or which players were almost recruited by Bobby and Teddy Kennedy for Harvard and by Frank Sinatra for the University of Nevada in Las Vegas? How about which player’s free throw style earned him the nickname “the Cobra”?

Show off your ACC knowledge by answering these questions and more in our trivia challenge.

Be like Mike and dominate in the trivia challenge.

Are you a Carolina super fan? For Tar Heels and Blue Devils supporters we’ve also put together The ACC Book of Fame: Duke Edition and The ACC Book of Fame: UNC Edition. 

Animated Gifs

Get this fan an ebook!

Can’t make it to the party? The ACC Basketball Book of Fame is available wherever books are sold and at blairpub.com. Also available as an ebook. ACCBasketballBookFameHope to see you there!

Robert Inman Returns to Charlotte’s WBTV Channel 3

Robert Inman, former anchor for Charlotte’s WBTV Channel 3, returned to the newsroom this week to talk about his new book, The Governor’s Lady. 20 years later and you’ve still got it, Bob!

“Bob” Inman hosting WBTV’s Newsbreak in 1992

Robert Inman discussing his work in 2013

The Governor’s Lady is available at http://www.blairpub.com and wherever books are sold. Also available as an ebook.

Blair Author Organizes Mayoral Conference to Aid in Disaster Relief


Kathleen Koch, an award-winning broadcast journalist and former CNN correspondent who authored the Blair title Rising from Katrina: How My Mississippi Hometown Lost It All and Found What Mattered (2010), has used her experience with disaster relief to organize a mayors helping mayors project. This project brings together former Gulf Coast mayors with current New Jersey mayors to share lessons learned from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the aim of facilitating recovery from the impact of Superstorm Sandy. This meeting will occur at the Bayshore Conference of Mayors on Friday, May 17, in Keansburg, New Jersey.

Koch, who has spoken to survivor groups from both Hurricane Katrina and the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, came up with this idea of a mayoral conference late last year and has been working to bring the Mississippi and New Jersey delegates together ever since.

Read more about Koch’s mayors helping mayors project and who will be attending at MoreMonmouthMusings.

rising_from_katrinaRising from Katrina is a story of the kindness of strangers, of minor miracles—and, above all, of how despite bureaucratic snarls and insurance battles a region rolled up its sleeves and rebuilt. It is also the story of a veteran reporter who, struggling to maintain her objectivity amid loss, traveled her own personal path from devastation to recovery.

Blair Staff Enjoys the BOOKMARKS Moveable Feast

Yesterday, Blair staff got together to celebrate Sunday literary-style! The BOOKMARKS’ Moveable Feast was held at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) and hosted 14 authors, including Blair’s own Judy Goldman, author of Losing My SisterIt was great catching up with our beloved author!

Moveable Feast Collage

Blair Staff at the BOOKMARKS Moveable Feast

While munching on delicious snacks, we also got to chat with several other authors who visited our table:

  • Penelope Niven, who promised a yet-to-be-determined prize to the first airline passenger she catches reading Thornton Wilder: A Life
  • Emily Colin, who showed us the awesome trailer for her new novel, The Memory Thief
  • Christopher Castellani, who gave us the inside scoop on how his new novel, All This Talk of Love, connects to his other books
  • Wiley Cash, who told us all about A Land More Kind Than Home and growing up in North Carolina (snake-handlers and all)
  • Holly Goddard Jones, whose new book, The Next Time You See Me, explores the disappearance of a woman before information moved at the speed of smartphones
  • Dana Sachs, whose grandmother became a model at 97 and was the inspiration for Sachs’s new novel, The Secret of the Nightingale Palace

AND we won prizes! While Heath Simpson and Shannon Pierce got to take home giveaway books, I’m lucky enough to be dating the winner of two Isabel Allende tickets!

All in all, a pretty great way to spend a Sunday. Thanks to BOOKMARKS, SECCA, and all the authors who made it such a great event!

To learn more about BOOKMARKS and their events, visit http://www.bookmarksnc.org.

Boast-Worthy Authors, Literary Dogs, Craft Beer, and Music at the 24th Annual Southern Festival of Books in Nashville

Last weekend John F. Blair staffers headed to Nashville for the 24th annual Southern Festival of Books. As vice-president of sales & marketing at John F. Blair, Publisher, I always look forward to this book festival, which is as much fun as it is work. Each year, I know the festival will host plenty of Boast-worthy Authors, many of whom I will see in person, that I’ll see some of my favorite repeat customers and friends from the area, and that I’ll have a heck of a time enjoying all the city of Nashville has to offer—after hours, of course.

This year, quite a few Blair authors were part of the festival’s program, as well as some of our distributed publishers’ authors. Our booth’s location at the festival was fabulous—we had a corner booth next to the Chapter 16 stage and at the top of the stairs leading down from the plaza. A wonderful woman selling Izzi sorbet was set up nearby.

Corner spot!

The lovely independent bookstore Parnassus Books handled book sales for the festival. Margaret Couch, Trisina Dickerson, and I manned the Blair booth, where we sold $2 and half-price books. Friday started out rainy and cool and evolved into a lovely but chilly day that didn’t stop loyal festival fans from turning out in droves. Many festival attendees were in fabulous moods. (The previous evening, the Tennessee Titans beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in a major upset. We ran into several angry Steelers fans while we were checking into our hotel that morning.)

Legislative Plaza on Friday afternoon – don’t slip!

On the schedule for Friday were Tasia Malakasis, cheese-maker and owner of Belle Chevre and author of Tasia’s Table (NewSouth Books; $29.95 hardcover); Frye Gaillard, author of The Books That Mattered (NewSouth Books; $27.95 hardcover) and winner of the Clarence Cason Award for Nonfiction in 2012; and Judy Goldman, author of the acclaimed memoir Losing My Sister (John F. Blair, $21.95 hardcover), which has received fabulous reviews in Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and the Charlotte Observer. We enjoyed catching up with Judy Goldman at our booth, where she entertained us with her story of a recent nightmarish hotel stay. A brutal fist-fight broke out in the hall outside her door at 2 a.m. in a hotel outside of D.C. Eek!

Judy Goldman speaks to the audience at her panel about the art of writing memoirs on Friday afternoon at Southern Festival.

Fun fact #1: Did you know Judy Goldman’s daughter designed her book jacket?

Ron Rash (Boast-worthy Author #1), author of Serena (soon to be a major motion picture starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence), The Cove, and the poetry collection published by Hub City Press, Waking, stopped by the Blair booth to say hello—and to take a look at Literary Dogs and Their South Carolina Writers (Hub City Press, $19.95). Ron Rash is a contributor to Literary Dogs and believes his dog is the ugliest in the book—maybe the second ugliest if you overlook the dog’s cataracts. He graciously offered to sign the copies of Waking we had on hand. (If you would like to order a signed copy of Waking, visit our website, and receive free shipping on individual orders of $30 or more. Be sure to specify in the comments area that you would like a signed copy. We only have ten signed copies left!)

Ron Rash, Boast-worthy Author #1

We have 10 signed copies of Waking – order now!

Friday started out chilly and damp, but that didn’t stop loyal festival fans from showing up to shop and see their favorite authors.

Friday night, Margaret and I took Trisina, our sales & marketing intern who recently moved to Winston-Salem from Tampa, on a short tour of downtown Nashville. We walked up and down Broadway and showed her around Second Avenue and Printer’s Alley. We dined at Big River Grille & Brewing Works on Broadway next to the Cumberland River and tried a couple of their house brews, their Oktoberfest and IPA, in particular. We were chatted up by a couple of older men while we sat at the bar, waiting for our table, and Trisina and I were carded! After dinner, we went to Diana’s Sweet Shop, a candy store, where to our amazement, Trisina showed us that you can ask for your candy apple to be sliced upon order! Who knew?

I must now take a moment to wistfully recall the many candy apples I’ve declined to eat throughout my life because I thought it would be too messy…sigh.

Saturday was a perfect day—warm and mostly sunny with slowly passing clouds. We sold a ton of books—almost literally—and met several festival authors. We have a system where we record each author that visits our booth by highlighting the author’s bio in the festival program. I’d like to tell you how many authors we saw, and which ones, but I lost the program (just like I do every year).

Blake Fontenay, author of The Politics of Barbecue, stopped by to visit with us before his panel with Ann Shayne at noon on Saturday. His event was standing-room only, and we sold quite a few books to people who were inspired to purchase a copy after hearing Blake speak about Mayor Pigg and his aspirations to build the Barbecue Hall of Fame in Memphis, Tennessee (where it rightfully belongs). Look for a fabulous review of The Politics of Barbecue in the upcoming holiday issue of Mystery Scene Magazine. I can’t reveal too much of the content of the review until the magazine hits shelves in mid-November, but I will say that the reviewer compares The Politics of Barbecue to William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.

Michel Stone, author of The Iguana Tree

We met Michel Stone, author of The Iguana Tree, when Betsy Teter of Hub City Press and coeditor of Literary Dogs, came by our booth. I caught up with Michel Stone, Betsy Teter, and Judy Goldman again, later that day, at Gillian Flynn’s discussion of Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn is Boast-worthy Author #2).

Fun fact #2: Did you know Marshall Chapman’s sister is an artist and painted the image used on the jacket of The Iguana Tree?

Blair staffers Trisina Dickerson (left) and Margaret Couch (center) pose with Judy Goldman, author of the memoir Losing My Sister.

I’ve been a fan of Gillian Flynn since I read her first novel, Sharp Objects. If you haven’t read her books, stop what you’re doing right now and get to it. (Warning: You may call in sick for work the next day if you start reading one of her books on a weekday.) Gillian is adorable and funny, and I’m super jealous that she got to hang out with Johnny Knoxville and the rest of his crew of misfits on the set of Jackass 3—not to mention that whole awesome-suspense-writer thing she has going on. After Gillian’s event that afternoon, I persuaded Judy Goldman and Blake Fontenay to pose for a picture in front of our booth.

Blake Fontenay and Judy Goldman in front of the Blair booth at Southern Festival

Upon browsing our fine selection of half-price books at our booth on Saturday, one customer picked up a copy of Literary Dogs and remarked, “Hey, my dog is in here!” The customer was Mark Powell, the author of four novels and yet another contributor to Literary Dogs! He and his wife, Denise, were thrilled to see the book for the first time, and showed us the picture of their dog, Buddy. Mark says in Literary Dogs that he “wrote every word of four novels with Buddy snoozing at my feet, as much guardian as muse.”

Trisina attended Junot Diaz’s panel Saturday afternoon and got him to sign her copy of This Is How You Lose Her – hey, maybe she’ll end up with a signed copy of this year’s National Book Award Winner. (Junot Diaz is Boast-worthy Author #3.)

Trisina (left) and Margaret sell $2 and half-price books at the Blair booth at Southern Festival in Nashville.

Saturday evening, we headed to the reception for authors and exhibitors, hosted by Southern Festival at The Arts Company on Fifth Street. There, we mingled with Betsy Teter and Michel Stone and ate a “light” dinner of Goo-Goo Clusters, macaroni and cheese, deviled eggs, and watermelon salad. And we drank more craft beer, Yazoo Brewing Company’s Dos Perros, a beer which deceivingly looks like a dark beer but tastes like a lager—a cool trick which results in more beer for me. (Many people won’t try it because they think it’s a dark beer—not that there’s anything wrong with dark beer.) We met Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the South and A Separate Country (Boast-worthy Author #4). Robert Hicks wrote the foreword to a photography book we are publishing this spring, Porch Dogs by Nell Dickerson—look for it in April 2013. His dog will be featured in the book! We also saw Padgett Powell, author of Edisto and another contributor to Literary Dogs (Boast-worthy Author #5).

After filling up on beer and candy (again), we headed to the Bluebird Café, where Sales Rep of the Month Jan Fairchild of Southern Territory Associates and her wonderful friend, Sheila Kennedy, reserved a pew for us in advance. (For information on how you can be considered for Sales Rep of the Month, refer to “Reserving seats for Blair staffers at the Bluebird Cafe,” and you must also be a sales rep for John F. Blair, Publisher.) Marshall Chapman, Silas House, George Singleton (Boast-worthy Authors #6, 7, and 8), and three-time Grammy nominated singer-songwriter Matraca Berg entertained the audience all evening in-the-round style, with songs, readings, and more songs. Matraca’s neice was celebrating her seventeenth birthday, and she and Matraca sang “Strawberry Wine” together—it was awesome. Matraca’s new album, Love’s Truck Stop, hits stores in the UK next month and in the U.S. next spring. Silas House read some of his fiction and sang a ballad; a friend of his accompanied Silas on a harpsichord. Marshall Chapman sang a song about a Buddha baby in the grocery store and his transcendental kiss. I laughed, teared up a little, and, thanks to George Singleton, choked on my beer a few times. (At the Bluebird Café, I tried Yazoo’s Pale Ale and Margaret had another Dos Perros. Trisina had water. She is the newest Blair staff member so we made her drive. Hey, it sucks, but one must pay one’s dues.) Oh, and George Singleton is another contributor to Literary Dogs. Have I mentioned that Literary Dogs is now available? (Tip: If you add Literary Dogs and a signed copy of Waking to your shopping cart at blairpub.com, you will receive free shipping.)

Literary Dogs is now available.

On Sunday, our good luck took a turn for the worse. We were expecting scattered thunderstorms but were met with 30 mph winds and collapsed tents when we arrived at Legislative Plaza that morning. One side of our booth was open where the plastic blew away overnight. Thankfully, our books were protected and safe. It quickly became apparent that we would not be able to open our booth for the day’s events. With much reluctance, wavering, and hem-hawing (mostly from Margaret – who almost blew away walking to the car), we packed up our booth and headed home early.  Unfortunately, we missed catching up with Stuart Dill, author of Murder on Music Row, who was scheduled for a panel on Sunday. We sold several copies of Murder on Music Row on Friday and Saturday. Despite the crazy weather, we still had one of our best years in sales.

Margaret, Trisina, and I stayed in Knoxville Sunday night on our way back to Winston-Salem. With all the extra time on our hands, we decided to go see Pitch Perfect, which turned out to be “occalarious” and a fitting end to our weekend. We got back to the hotel in time for me to catch the replay of the season premiere of The Walking Dead, while Margaret continued catching up on Friday Night Lights on Netflix, and Trisina watched a recent episode of Doctor Who. We didn’t have to fight over the remote!

This year at Southern Festival I saw eight Boast-worthy Authors, tried four new (well, new to me) craft beers, caught up with old friends and met a lot of new people, and I finally saw Gillian Flynn. (I wanted to see her at BOOKMARKS in Winston-Salem, but the festival date overlapped with the SIBA Trade Show this year.) And I created Blair’s Sales Rep of the Month Award. Not a bad weekend, I’d say, not a bad weekend at all.

Blog-reading bonus: The first person to respond with the correct number of times I mention Literary Dogs in this blog post will win a free copy of the book.

Win dinner with Bob Garner from Our State magazine

Two decades ago, Bob Garner set off on a statewide exploration of food and restaurants for UNC-TV. For years we relied on Garner to tell us where to eat, from mom-and-pop places to white-tablecloth restaurants all across North Carolina. Now’s your chance to go with him – in person.

Enter to win an evening with Our State’s favorite foodie! And don’t miss the 36-page feature on North Carolina barbecue in the September issue of Our State magazine, excerpted from Bob Garner’s Book of Barbecue.


Join us this weekend for the High Country Festival of the Book

Join us tomorrow, August 4th,at the Meadowbrook Inn in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, for the High Country Festival of the Book. It’ll be a fun day of author panels, workshops, and book shopping.

Our distributed press, Canterbury House, will also exhibit. And at 12:45 p.m. tomorrow, two Canterbury authors — award-winning Julia Taylor Ebel and Smoky Mountain novelist Lin Stepp — will appear on the Mountain Voices panel, moderated by Joseph Bathanti. Authors Jenny Bennett and Carolyn Guy as well as Canterbury publisher Wendy Dingwall will also sign books.

For full details, check the High Country Festival site. See you there!

Meet the Barbecue Man in the Triad this weekend

Bob Garner

You might have seen the Barbecue Man Bob Garner talk about what makes North Carolina barbecue great on WGHP or WFMY yesterday, but if you want the chance to debate eastern style vs. western style with him yourself, join us this weekend while he signs Bob Garner’s Book of Barbecue: North Carolina’s Favorite Food in the Triad. He’ll be at the following events:

Friday, June 8 from 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
1925 Hampton Inn Court
Winston-Salem, NC 27103
Phone: 336-774-0800

Saturday, June 9 from 2 – 4 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
3125 Waltham Blvd.
Burlington, NC 27215
Phone: 336-584-0869

See you there!