Many of us who are connected with schools in some way think of September as the New Year. I am now experiencing a new kind of “New Year.” A year ago I had just changed my official website to WordPress and started this blog, had just gotten on Facebook (Are you my friend?), had just purchased a laptop computer and was learning to operate it, had just had Well Considered accepted in local Maryland libraries and historical society library, and was just beginning to attend book festivals to promote Well Considered and Cologne No. 10 for Men. A year ago I had recently met James W. Loewen (Sundown Towns), who introduced us to Busboys & Poets and we started frequenting the V Street Busboys, becoming familiar with the Teaching for Change bookstore, and meeting many new friends there. Now we’re looking forward to the Hyattsville Busboys & Poets opening maybe in July. It was since April of last year that I connected on Facebook with friends from my hometown and my high school and college, who offered me encouragement in my writing, supported me in attending events and buying books, and pushed me to get my books on Kindle. I recently wrote about reconnection with author Roger Skipper (Tear Down the Mountain, The Baptism of Billy Bean, and Bone Dogs) because of writing. It was through the book festivals in this past year that we would met Paula Young Shelton (Child of the Civil Rights Movement) who shares family location roots, Dolen Perkins Valdez (Wench, a novel) who appeared at other book festivals where we were, and Kwame Alexander, a poet who developed Capital Bookfest and expanded it to other cities, plus many other interesting and talented authors.
A couple of these new author-friends are Tom LaCombe (Light Ruck) and Wayne Karlin (Wandering Souls) who were on a panel with me at the International Day of the Book in Kensington, MD, last April. Next Sunday, April 17, at this same festival (http://www.dayofthebook.com/) I will be personally celebrating this past year of many “firsts” as an author and speaking about my books at 12:30. And it will be the “first” time we set up the tent this year for a book festival — hope it’s another year of “No Rain” (see http://richardmorrisauthor.wordpress.com/2010/04/25/no-rain/ which tells about last year’s festival).