A Weekend Amongst My People

Over the wekend I attended the South Dakota festival of books. I had a wonderful time. Imagine Comicon for book nerds. The city of Deadwood was overrun with writers of all types, teachers, librarians, and all sorts of people who just love a good book. There were wonderful seminars on all aspects of writing. I just wish I could have gone to them all but choices had to be made.

My favorite part was mingling and getting one on one time with authors at all stages of their careers and really talking with them about what I can expect as my own progresses. This is why I love the literary world. Unlike hollywood, most authors don’t look at you as a threat or competition. They’re more than willing to give a struggling writer as much helpful advice as possible. There’s a camaraderie as if they’re taking you into the fold.

It was great talking to successful writers such as Craig Johnson, the Author of the Walt Longmire mysteries. The series of books on which the T.V. show Longmire is based. If anyone has a right to be a bit cocky right now it’s him, yet he’s never too busy to shake your hand and chat with you a bit. He seems to love to encourage fledgling writers and was quick to tell me how terrible his first draft was.

I also met with Sandra Brannan, author of the Liv Bergen mystery series. She gave a wonderful early morning talk on writing great villains that really got me thinking. Imagine my surprise when later that day, while sitting having a pipe and digesting everything I had learned, someone taps me on the shoulder to say hello and I look up to see Mrs. Brannan. It was a great feeling to be recognized by a successful author. I’m sorry to say I haven’t read any of her work yet but you can bet I’ll be rectifying that soon.

I hadn’t heard of Rhiannon Frater, but the topics of her talks combined with the fact that she’s quite an attractive woman certainly had me intrigued. The first talk I attended was called, “Zombies & Vampires: The Lure of Fantasy”. Later she was on a panel called, “It’s the End of The World As We Know It”. Both talks were awesome and she had some great theories on the appeal of zombies, vampires, and things that go bump in the night. I picked up the first book in her, “As the World Dies” trilogy, read the first page, and had a hard time putting it down long enough to pay for it.

I also enjoyed wandering the exhibition hall and talking to writers who weren’t quite as famous but seem to be well on their way. In particular, I enjoyed talking to Thomas Gondolfi. He is downright hilarious and just the back cover of his book “Toy Wars” had me laughing so hard I had to buy it. Also, any man in a kilt has got to be a good guy.

I am eagerly looking forward to next time. Hopefully by then I’ll be able to set up a table of my own. I suppose the only way for that to happen is for me to get off here and do some writing.


Craig Johnson
Sandra Brannan
Rhiannon Frater


0 replies on “A Weekend Amongst My People”


Glad I left such a good impression on you. I hope you enjoyed Toy Wars and that I justified your jocularity. I fully intend to return to the SD Book Festival, but only when it is in Deadwood, so not this year but next.

I won’t have the sequel to Toy Wars done by then (currently on the schedule for 2016) but will have the CorpGov Chronicles to three books.

Looking forward to chatting with you again.. and I agree.. Kilts for the win!

Thomas Gondolfi

I am ashamed to admit that I’m only just now getting around to reading it but I’m about halfway through and I’m really enjoying it. I was expecting a silly story but it’s actually a very good war story so far.

Leave a Reply