West Texas Book & Music Festival

Abilene, Texas September 20 - 25, 2010

By Julia Hayden (In person at festival Sept 25.)

The West Texas Book and Music Festival is coming up in September, an excellent excuse to party hearty, eat hearty and check out the local literary scene in beautiful downtown Abilene. It's sponsored by the Friends of the Abilene Library and the Abilene Reporter News, and focuses almost equally on local Texas authors, and excellent music and food. Most of the events will be either at the main library, or in the Abilene Civic Center - that's where I'll be on Saturday, September 25th; in the Hall of Texas Authors, behind a table - or strictly speaking - half a table, with a pile of copies of my books on it.

My daughter and I have plans to dress up our half-table, with some antique-frontierish looking props, and if my assorted free-lance jobs and royalty checks have been substantial, I may even splurge and order some personalized literary M&Ms. It's all about the marketing, you know.

I went last year, practically my first go-round at one of these book-festivally things, which you have to do, not so much to sell a whopping pile o'books, but to meet up with other writers, and spend some time away from the computer. That's the downside of this writing thing, you know - spending very little time interfacing with those of your own species in the real world. (I spend heaps of time interfacing with my own species when I'm writing - it's just that many of those involved are . . . umm, people I have made up.)

And there is one very agreeable additional benefit to going to Abilene - from San Antonio, it makes a wonderful cross-country road trip, especially if you hop off the IH10 at Junction, and take the 83 north. It's a lovely drive through lovely country, a two-lane road which leads through fascinating and historic little towns like Menard, Paint Rock and Ballinger. Just when you get bored of the country, there's an interesting place to stop, check out this and that, get something to eat and contemplate what it would have been like to have lived out there when these little towns were first established in the late 1800s. There was a time, just barely within living memory, when most Americans lived in towns like this, or on farms and ranches near them.

At this point, the Cookbook Gala at the Abilene Country Club is sold out, but the Boots & Books Luncheon still is up for grabs.

Julia Hayden, who writes professionally as Celia Hayes, spent twenty years as a military broadcaster in the Air Force before retiring. She contributes to a variety of online magazines and websites, and is also on the board of the Independent Authors Guild, a non-profit association of writers published by small or regional boutique publishers. She is the author of four novels set on the 19th century American frontier. Julia currently lives in San Antonio with her daughter and an assortment of dogs and cats, Her literary website is at http://www.celiahayes.com.