Sunday, November 18, 2012

Gala Book Launch Party for Granite Island, Amber Sea: Writings from the Black Hills and Plains

On Saturday, November 17th, 2012 I had the privilege of attending the Gala Book Launch put on by the Black Hills Writers Group for Granite Island, Amber Sea: Writings from the Black Hills and Plains.

It was an amazing event full of talented authors.  I was hugely impressed by all the great writers gathered in one spot.

The Master of Ceremonies, Adrian Ludens contributed "A Brother's Love" to the anthology.  He did a great job presenting all of the readers, but I expected nothing less because this is the type of thing he does for a living.  However, he never fails to impress me when I hear him read one of his stories or even a commercial he's voiced for the local radio stations.  (Every time I hear him speak I catch myself thinking with satisfaction, "I know that guy!")

Adrain Ludens and a few of his very own anthologies.

The first reader, Dorothy Rosby, is another impressive author.  I've had the pleasure of hearing her read at group meetings but this is the first time I've heard her speak at an event.  Dorothy read "Seasonal Envy Disorder," her contribution to the anthology.

She is a syndicated humor columnist in eleven western and mid-western states, including a couple of our local publications.

Dorothy Rosby standing behind a table full of copies of "Granite Island, Amber Sea: Writings from the Black Hills and Plains".

The other readers, in order of reading, were:

Lloyd Warner, author of Faith at the Dismal River, Joy at the Dismal River and Peace at the Dismal River, read an excerpt from his contribution "My Town."

Lloyd Warner standing near a couple of his novels.
Lloyd Warner - reading an excerpt from "My Town".

 K.J. Van Deusen, noted local poet, read "Just A Stone's Throw Away from the David" and "This Wind."  Her poetry has appeared in Pirene's Fountain, Plain Spoke:  A Literary Speakeasy and Victorian Violet Press and Journal.

K.J. Van Deusen - reading "Just a Stone's Throw Away from the David", and "This Wind".

Jared Rittberger, one of my favorites to hear read at the meetings, read his contribution, "Tense Times in the Axis of Evil."  Jared writes about his travel experiences with such a realistic and human point of view that I always find myself right there with him.

Jared Rittberger - reading from "Tense Times in the Axis of Evil."

Sandra Brannan, another of my favorites, gave a talk on writing and her anthology contribution, "The Bridge."  Sandra Brannan is the author of The Liv Bergen Mysteries which include In The Belly of Jonah, Lot's Return to Sodom and Widow's Might.

Sandra Brannan speaking of her pride of her family and other things like writing.

Jorie Jertson read from her "Autobiography of a Model T," one of her four contributions to the anthology.  She was assisted by Craig Schaffer, who read the voice of the Model T.  Craig Schaffer also contributed his own work titled "Someday."

Both of these authors are amazing.  Jorie has authored several books, including The House: Emerge of the Mouse, Mother & Daughter and Quest.

Craig Schaffer has brought me to tears with his writing more than once at the meetings and I love to listen to his stories.

Jorie Jertson and some of her available novels.

Jorie Jertson and Craig Schaffer reading from "Autobiography of a Model T".

Victoria Wicks, a freelance journalist and artist read her contribution "A Boneyard Reverie."  Her presentation was beautifully accompanied by her own photos.

Victoria Wicks - reading from "A Boneyard Reverie".

The last three presenters highlighted the Black Hills Writers Group's latest project, The Empathy Project.  The Empathy Project is open to all submissions.  The basis behind The Empathy Project is to put yourself in another person's shoes and try to see the world from their point of view.  They accept all kinds of forms of expression from music, the written word, photography, and video.  Everyone is encouraged to enter in the hopes that if we can get people to see things from a different point of view we will all be more empathetic, making the world a better place for us all.

To make a submission to The Empathy Project or just to check out the current submissions you can go to:

Charlotte Walling, one of the founders of The Empathy Project, started off the readings with "Apple."  "Apple" will be published in the upcoming edition of the Vermillion Literacy Project.  If you are not able to get a copy of the Vermillion Literacy Project I highly recommend you go to the website listed above and search out this story.  Though it's hard to pick a favorite of the night, "Apple" is very high on my list of best readings of the night.

Charlotte Walling - I think this is the cutest picture!

Charlotte Walling - reading from her Empathy Project submission, "Apple".

Patricia Griffin read her Empathy Project submission, "Paprika Delight."  Patricia is a past president of the Black Hills Writers Group and also has her own novel out, The Other Side: Rebellion Night with the sequel, Redemption Knight, scheduled to be released in 2013.

Patricia Griffin with her book The Other Side: Rebellion Night.

Patricia Griffin - reading "Paprika Delight."

And finally, the current Black Hills Writers Group president, Karen Hall, wrapped up the evening with her Empathy Project submission "Used Dinnerwear."  This one actually brought me to tears and I had to quickly dab at my eyes to keep my makeup from running.  I didn't do the best job of it.

Karen Hall also has two novels available.  Unreasonable Risk and the second book in the Hannah Morrison series, Through Dark Spaces.

Karen Hall - reading "Used Dinnerwear".

Karen Hall - signing her newest novel, Through Dark Spaces.

I had a wonderful time at the gala and am extremely proud to have been allowed into the same room with all of these wonderful authors.  I will post the rest of my pictures below for your browsing pleasure.

YES!  I really am including this picture!  These are my AWESOME shoes.  My hubby must like them, too.  He's the one who took the picture without my knowledge

Not the best picture, but this is me setting up my books for display.

Another picture of ME!  I think we've finally gotten these out of the way and we can now focus on everyone else.

JE Terral's wife, Phylis.  I'm not sure if I've spelled her name correctly and if I haven't, I apologize.

JE Terral and his small selection of titles.

VR Janis and JC Phelps, posing pretty.

VR Janis and JC Phelps.  If one isn't talking, the other one is.

JE Terral and his beautiful wife, Phylis.

VR Janis and Sandra Brannan.  Again, if one isn't talking, the other one is.  Oh, wait, that was...

Patricia Griffin - a candid picture of her setting up her display.

Marsha Mittman standing in front of her offerings.  I believe this was our first meeting.

Marsha Mittman and Jorie Jertson.  What a couple of gorgeous ladies!

Jean Helmer and her own collection.

Lloyd Warner and Jared Rittberger.  Two very good writers that did readings for the gala.

Check out the books and name plates.  Where are the authors?

Goodness!  The authors are all missing!  Oooh - and my handsome hubby is in the background.  He looks so handsome sitting there in his suit.

Nichole R. Bennett and Jean Helmer rearranging and setting up.

Granite Island, Amber Sea: Writings from the Black Hills and Plains!


  1. You sound like you had a lot of fun.

    You looked great in your LBD.

    1. Thanks, Mac! It was a lot of fun. We rarely get to dress up and go anywhere other than the grocery store. :-)


Thank you for your comments.