Southern Oregon Book and Author Fair

The Southern Oregon Book and Author Fair will return Saturday, Nov. 21, to the ballroom of the Ashland Springs Hotel. A regular event since 2003, it will offer nearly 60 writers for meeting and greeting.

"It is the place to become personally familiar with regional authors and their books," says organizer Claire Krulikowski, who says she starts planning the event, which used to held at Southern Oregon University, in about June with the help of maybe a half-dozen volunteers.

Authors will be on hand from as far as Portland and Seattle representing both fiction and nonfiction, including such fields as children's books, spirituality, suspense, mystery, nature, memoirs, science fiction and poetry.

Krulikowski says last year she saw people at the fair first thing in the morning who were still there in the afternoon.

"The authors were impressed by the solid stream of people throughout the day," she says.

This year's featured author is Lorena McCourtney, who lives in Grants Pass and writes Christian mysteries.

Mystery writers include the like of L.J. Sellers of Eugene; Donald Ball of Rogue River; and Barbara Corrado Pope of Eugene. Running through Ball's novels is the theme of trust. Is it OK to trust somebody or something, or is this trust misplaced?

McCourtney says she wrote 24 romance novels before she segued into Christian romance with a mystery series featuring sleuth Ivy Malone. Her latest, "Your Chariot Awaits," was named mystery book of the year by the American Christian Fiction Writers for 2008 (visit

Joining McCourtney in the Christian mystery genre is Debra Murphy, who is also head of the Ashland-based Catholic publishing house Idyll's Press. Murphy's "The Mystery of Things" takes up the myth of St. George along with a Shakespeare scholar and a right-wing Catholic cult.

Authors of Oregon history and biography include fifth-generation Oregonian Diane Goeres-Gardner, Portlander George Byron White and Regina Dorland Robinson biographer Dawna Curler.

Also in a regional vein, Jill Livingstone and Kathryn Golden will be on hand with "That Thread of Highway," books about Oregon's Highway 99.

Children and parenting authors taking part are Rick Johnson, R. Hawk Starkey, Barbara Irvin and Theresa Gooch. Participating authors of works for young adults include Ann Gonzalez and Mabel Armstrong.

Betty Grant Henshaw will bring her memoir "Children of the Dust: An Okie Family Story" ( Fayagail Mandell Bisaccia will be prepared to discuss her books on healing and grieving.

Portland's George F. Skipworth and North Bend's David Daigle will represent the fields of fantasy and science fiction.

Authors specializing in history include Jura Sherwood of Phoenix; Jo-Brew of Eugene; and World War II mavens David L. Israel and Marshall Empleby.

Poets expected at the fair include Ashland's Amy Miller, along with Carol Brockfield, KatSue Grant, Bonnie Johnson, Joseph Frederico and Bob Mayer.

SOU's David Churchman will bring a book on the humanities thesis, and Judy C. Reynolds promises stories about wine and wineries.

McCourtney says she started writing in the fifth grade. Her stories were about horses. All of them. She earned a degree in agriculture from Washington State University and went to work at a big meatpacking company in the Midwest, where she says, "I quickly discovered that writing about hogs and sausage-making was not my life's calling."

After starting a family, she later returned to writing, this time turning out short stories for children for Sunday school magazines.

She later wrote women's short stories and romance novels, for money, "all the time promising the Lord I would get back to Christian writing."

Twenty-four books later she did, turning out a half-dozen books for the Palisades line of Christian romance before adding an emphasis on mystery in her next book of Christian fiction, "Whirlpool."

A new wrinkle in the book event this year is the availability of a limited selection of audiobooks.

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