(Note: My News Herald colleague Jan Waddy produced this story about tonight's book signing event for the Friday Entertainer insert.)
|Books By The Sea / Jan Waddy Photo|
What: Book signing/meet and greet with eight local authors
When: 6-8 p.m. during Friday Fest
Where: Books By The Sea, 558 Harrison Ave., Panama City
Details: Facebook: Fiction Fest at Friday Fest!
Friday Fest takes place from 6-10 p.m. the first Friday of every month along Harrison Avenue in downtown Panama City with bands, classic cars, extended business hours and vendors.
PANAMA CITY — Fantasy becomes reality for book lovers during Fiction Fest on Friday at Books by the Sea.
From 6-8 p.m. during Friday Fest, the bookstore is hosting a group book signing and meet-and-greet with eight local and regional authors in several genres.
“It just kind of grew organically,” said News Herald writer Tony Simmons, who first approached the Books by the Sea owner about doing an event.
Though authors already were scheduled, Simmons said, “I don’t mind them being there if they don’t mind us being there.”
Simmons (TonySimmons.info) will showcase his horror/sci-fi novel “This Mortal Flesh,” which was inspired by a dream — or rather a nightmare.
“I awoke from the dream only seconds into it, as I came to realize that I was not only surrounded by the undead, but I was one of them. I looked around at the carnage, realized what my future held ... and woke up, thinking, ‘This would make a cool story,’” he wrote in a March blog (TonySimmons.blogspot.com).
He will join the living on Friday with fellow authors Milinda Jay, Jayson Kretzer, Mark Douglas Jr., Raven H. Price, Janeen O’Kerry, Carole Allen Bailey and Kyra Clark.
Though the authors’ books are in different genres, they will all be at a large table in one spot.
“One idea was to have them in different sections, but separating people is not as fun as having everyone together,” said Books by the Sea owner Donald Ramsey.
Ramsey, born in Panama City and raised in Niceville, got back to his roots about five years ago when he took over the bookstore. Books by the Sea relocated to its new location across the street just over a year ago.
Books by the Sea features “mostly used” books and selections from local authors when he gets them. Ramsey enjoys fiction, though admits he is usually reading “some kind of educational book.”
Jay (MilindaJay.com), an English teacher at Florida State University-Panama City, published “His Celtic Princess” in January, a prequel to 2014’s “Her Roman Protector.” Proceeds from “His Celtic Princess,” which has an element of Christian faith, support church missions such as Anchorage Children’s Home in Panama City.
O’Kerry’s “Lady of Fire” also combines history and romance.
Douglas (MarkDouglasJr.WordPress.com) rediscovered a love of story telling while reading aloud and dramatizing novels, such as the Percy Jackson series, to his Surfside Middle School students. Like Simmons’ novel, Douglas’ 2014 “The Prophet of the Dragon,” a fantasy novel with Christian themes, was inspired by a dream.
Kretzer, a comics artist/writer, will have copies of his latest “Wannabe Heroes” (Facebook.com/wannabeheroes).
“I think it’s just a real cool event,” said Kretzer, who established Creative Con at the Bay County Public Library.
Creative Con returns to Gulf Coast State College on Aug. 1.
“This is more centered around reading,” Kretzer said. “I am excited to be a part of it. I will have both the first and second issue of ‘Wannabe Heroes,’ a super hero action comedy comic for kids and adults alike, and my comic strip book on hand as well. At a lot of events I’ve done, the parents come and the kids aren’t super excited until they see kids’ books.”
For those who are interested in digital copies, Issue No. 2 also released on ComiXology on Wednesday.
“I’m kinda torn to be honest,” Kretzer admitted, when asked if he preferred print or digital comics. “I still love the smell of a brand new comic book, but being able to take my entire comic book collection with me anywhere is nice. I’m spoiled — want it both ways.”
If you want to find out more about publishing in the digital age, this also would be a good chance to do that.
“All of the authors are independently published or self published so they would be good resources for someone who wanted to come in and talk about the process,” Simmons added.
Clark has released the first of her series, “Oasis: An Awakening.” Price, a Georgia author, has written a fantasy romance, “The Chosen,” and Bailey — born and raised in South Carolina — is right at home with her Southern novel “The Lady and Her Porch” (PorchLady.net).
Though the authors’ writing styles and inspirations differ, reading is where it all begins.
“Reading is one of the most important things in life, the main way to get an education. Not all things are available electronically,” Ramsey said. “For me, personally, I love the book in hand even though I enjoy the convenience of electronics.”