Author Fair highlights variety of local authors

When Vandy Roadifer started noticing that local authors kept donating their own books to the Friends of the Library book sales, she realized maybe it was time to host an Author Fair in Lebanon. So she did just that.

Roadifer, president of the Friends of the Lebanon Public Library, with the help of other Friends volunteers, hosted what might be the first annual Author Fair at the Lebanon Senior Center on Feb. 24. While waiting on feedback from those who participated to consider whether she should do another fair next year, it could still be called a success because approximately 175 people came to meet the 37 authors, and Roadifer even has a waiting list of more authors who wanted to come.

Through booth fees, the event raised $500 for Friends of the Library, proceeds benefiting the Lebanon Public Library. The Teen Advisory Group held a bake sale at the event, raising almost $340 for their own library cause.

While Roadifer has dabbled in writing her own books of high fantasy, urban fantasy and creative nonfiction during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, which challenges writers to complete 50,000 words in November), she has yet to publish one.

Authors from a dozen different Oregon cities joined Lebanon’s own book writers, presenting a varied spread of genres. From fantasy to romance and recipes to children’s books, Oregon’s authors proved we live in a diverse community. Here we look at just a snapshot of a handful of the 14 Lebanon authors present.

Nan C Ballard

Ballard, who was proxied by her husband at the fair while she attended a marketing seminar, published a trilogy of science fiction cowboy stories, “Under Carico’s Moon,” through Not a Pipe Publishing.

Her husband said she started writing “to stay out of trouble” after she retired from natural resources management. After self-publishing her first book, Not a Pipe accepted her second manuscript and released the entire trilogy. She also writes poems and essays, and co-hosts online coffee hours for Willamette Writers.

Dorothy and Mike Bell sit at their booth while a visitor finds their name on a list of authors at the event.

Dorothy Bell

Books titled “Waltz on the Big Meadow” and “Pretty Pride” were front and center at Bell’s booth, but were just a sampling of her many works of historical western romance.

When asked what it’s like to be married to a romance writer, husband Mike Bell simply replied, “romantic,” but Dorothy Bell is ready to defend the term “romance” in writing. She likes to remind people, men in particular, that every John Wayne movie is a romance story.

“Men shy away from the word ‘romance,’ but they watch every cowboy movie there was,” she said.

Of her own stories, there are shades of romance; it doesn’t have to be sex, she said. “Waltz on the Meadow” follows the story in the late 1800s of a woman whose husband leaves her and their child for the gold fields. She takes up work laundering for a brothel and the logging camp while her peers snub her association with those folks.

“Pretty Pride” is a story about a couple who had to get married without love and, let’s presume, they end up falling in love by the end.

When asked if there are hints of her own experiences or self in her stories, Bell said readers “probably” will find a hint of Mike in her stories.

“He’s kind and loving,” she said. “There’s kindness and loving in the men, and then there’s really bad men in there.”

Bell publishes through Wild Rose Press. For inspired writers who want to find a publisher, she recommends the “Writer’s Market” guide, a hefty book containing a variety of publishing opportunities.

Gloria Gardner

This children’s author was featured in Lebanon Local 2021, a story that highlighted her background as a preschool teacher and a handful of her books about autumn and Halloween. She has since published “Hooray for the Best Things of All,” “I Know a Sunflower Secret,” and “Spinner Day and Fly Pie.”

Stacy Johns

Using different pseudonyms to maintain branding of her different genres, Johns has published two books through Wild Rose Press. “Hide Your Light” is a paranormal suspense novel written under the name Penny Arrow, while “Positively Morbid” is a more traditional mystery under the pen name Cara Johns.

When asked why she was interested in writing books, she said “it’s one of those things I’ve been doing since I was very small,” adding that it dated back to the fifth grade when she tried to break her leg on some tree roots so she could write a fiction story about it.

Alex McHaddad

McHaddad shared his fantasy books, “Sands of Jannah: Ignoble,” “Sands of Jannah: Akbar Nights,” and “Fallen Blades: Unwelcome Dreams” at the fair; but next to those he also had “Beaver State Confidential: A Citizen’s Guide to Oregon Government.”

The latter is an introductory primer to Oregon governments, including a memoir about a law he got passed in 2019. Currently the administrator/recorder for the City of Sodaville, McHaddad said it took him only 24 hours to put the first draft together. What took a bit longer to write were his two fantasy books set in the Middle East.

“I’ve got Middle Eastern heritage and it was a fun exercise for me to look into my cultural heritage this way,” he said.

His other fantasy book, on the other hand, was more “free flowing” since it involves common mythological tropes that were easier for him to form into a story.

A guest asks local author Jennifer Moody for a signed copy of her book, “The Miracle on First Avenue.”

Jennifer Moody

Known widely for her bylines in local newspapers, Moody now works as a journalism advisor at Oregon State University. She shared her recently published book, “The MIracle on First Avenue,” which follows the story of how one “tenacious” woman wanted to bring a carousel to Albany and gives an in-depth look at the carousel’s animals themselves.

“I fell in love with the project back when I came across Salem’s carving studio,” she said. “When that carousel opened, I bought their book. It was a coffee table book with a ton of pictures, and it detailed their process and also gave the individual stories for each animal.”

When Albany opened their own carousel, Moody knew she could do the same thing for them. Working closely with the Historic Carousel & Museum, Moody’s role was to write the story of each animal, as well as provide the details about the carousel’s carvers, painters, mechanism, building and other historical information.

L.N. Reagan

Reagan is among a handful of other local authors who are learning how to market their self-published books through social media. Like her, many authors today send their works through Amazon, which prints books on demand (as they’re purchased) and ships them out.

“Social media has pretty much been 100% of my sales so far,” she said, adding this was her first-ever author event.

Reagan began writing fantasy romance stories, inspired from the fact she likes to read that genre a lot.

“I really like pirate books, but I was really also into the spicy books, so I said, ‘I really want spicy pirates,’ and that is actually where all of this started,” she said.

Her works include two interconnected standalones for “The Nights Revenge,” and a duology for “Crowns of Love.” Reagan is now working on a trilogy.

Hans Schallig

Schallig presented his autobiography, “A Long Journey: From Concentration Camp to Freedom in America.” The Indo-Dutchman was a child when World War II thrust his family through multiple concentration camps, and ultimately led them to find refuge in America.

A fan of Schallig approached him at the fair and mentioned that he has another, very thick book he’s written, but it’s much “too academic” for her taste.

Linda Ziedrich stands with two of her own published recipe books.

Linda Ziedrich

Formerly an editor and book designer for Harvard Common Press, Ziedrich began writing books after a coworker asked her to write “Cold Soups,” a recipe book for … cold soups. Her next book, “The Joy of Pickling,” is now in its third edition and is considered her most successful work.

She also published “The Joy of Jams, Jellies and Other Sweet Preserves,” which shares traditional methods of preservation without the use of pectin.

“It’s organized by types of fruit and there’s a lot of information on unusual kinds of fruits but things you can grow at home,” Ziedrich added.

She also published “The Nursing Mother’s Guide to Weaning,” and has two more books on the way: “The Curious Kitchen Gardener,” and “First Fruits: The Lewellings and the Birth of the Pacific Coast Fruit Industry” (a triple biography).

As she freelanced as an editor and book designer, Ziedrich eventually sloughed off those roles to focus solely on writing.

“It’s harder to work on other peoples’ stuff, it’s more intense,” she said. “We had a lot of writers who were not professionals and it was a lot of work.”