The fun and challenge on being on a book tour

This is what I’ve been waiting for! To go all over to discuss national parks in the Southeast

After a great book launch at Malaprop’s Bookstore, I’m visiting bookstores, hiking clubs, outdoor stores and even a church to talk about the National Park Service Centennial and sign my book,  Forests, Alligators, Battlefields: My Journey through the National Parks of the South.

Nicole Ayers at her church
Nicole Ayers at her church

I just returned from three days in Charlotte, North Carolina. First, St. Peter’s Catholic Church, an event organized by their hiking club.

My editor, Nicole Ayers, had made the contact for me and they welcomed me with open arms. The church staff was so, so organized. They held the talk in a social hall, complete with projector, speakers, and a screen.

The church was on S. Tryon St. in the heart of downtown Charlotte, but no worries, they had the parking organized as well. You don’t realize how grateful I was.

When I travel to do a book talk, I don’t have an entourage. No sister, spouse or adult child to help with driving directions, heavy lifting or to bring me cups of tea. I certainly don’t have a person meeting me at my lodging and driving me to the event location. It’s just me!

Even the priest was in the audience. Should I tell the story about Natchez National Historical Park and why William Johnson, a freed slave, baptized all his children in the Catholic Church? Well, I did and they all smiled. Whew!

Bill Bartee
Bill Bartee

Next, Jesse Brown’s Outdoors, an outfitter owned by Bill Bartee. I call Jesse Brown, my home in Charlotte because I’ve presented all four books there, starting in 2007. It was a small but knowledgeable audience. I didn’t sign too many books that evening, but a few more people knew about the Centennial.

Today, at Main St. Books, in Davidson, I had a unique experience.

Last night, after coming in late from dinner, I made the mistake of checking my email.

Adah, from Main St. Books, said that they were expecting the fourth and fifth grade class from Davidson Green School.

Davidson Green School
Davidson Green School


Will children find my talk boring? How can I change it at this late date to make it more relevant? I certainly wasn’t going to change my visuals.

I added the story about Kings Mountain National Military Park, which I decided was probably the closes park to Davidson.

Instead of talking about tactics – the Blue stood here, the Red stood there – I talked about J. Hamrick, a NPS employee, who’s great grandfather, seven times over, was an Overmountain Victory soldier.

Here’s the original post.

Introducing me
Introducing me

The kids were asked to introduce me. They had read my bio in the book and three were chosen to read parts of it to the audience. I was never so serenaded in an intro before.

Next week, South Carolina and Florida. No, I won’t write about every event. If you want to see where I am, see my events page.



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