Fiction and friends in three states

This book tour has been a wonderful whirlwind, gang, and I’m still playing catch-up on all the fun events I’ve been involved in! So allow me to take you on the fantastic finale of my tour of the Midwest, from Indiana through Kentucky and back into Ohio:

After my Indianapolis gig, I drove south to New Albany, Indiana, where I met up with poet Steve Bowman and theatre costume designer and professor Natalie Brown Bowman. They introduced me to Indiana University Southeast, where I met professors and librarians, chatted with students, checked out Natalie’s costume workshop (which was seriously impressive!), and finally settled in for my reading and craft discussion with the English club and anyone else who turned up.

Just a reminder from the IUS English club that it's Banned Books Week.
Just a reminder from the IUS English club that it’s Banned Books Week.

As it happened, a LOT of “anyone else” turned up! I don’t know the final tally, but there was a sign-up sheet for students, and that thing ran to nearly 30. Plus professors and community members. It was an amazing turnout!

In fact, there were so many folks I had to resort to two selfies (and I still didn’t squeeze everyone in):

Later, my friends took me to the New Albanian Brewing Company, where I was delighted to find a wheat beer called the “Houndmouth,” complete with a poster of a shadowy figure in old-fashioned clothes in a darkened, wood-floored room. What a terrific complement to Hagridden! (And it was a decent beer, too!)

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The next day, I was on my way to Cincinnati, but because the route took me through Louisville anyway, I had the tremendous good fortune to stop off on the way and meet — in real life!!! — the amazing Leesa Cross-Smith!

I'm in the same photo with one of my favorite authors!
I’m in the same photo with one of my favorite authors!

From there, it was onward along the Ohio River. FYI, the Ohio River Valley through northern Kentucky isn’t quite as beautiful as my own beloved Columbia River Gorge, but man, it was stunning. Kudos, Ohio River Valley, and thanks for the scenery!

In Cincinnati, I had a few hours to kill and wound up roaming a few parks and cemeteries, and of course I visited the public library, but that’s for another post. What’s important here is my destination: The Listing Loon in Northside, where, surrounding sets by Ben Walpole of The Minor Leagues, I read with author and Hobart founder Aaron Burch and my publisher, Brad Pauquette. (Brad and I had fun noticing that the bar had misspelled both our names, but the Listing Loon was a great venue with an excellent beer list!)

The event was the monthly Folk & Fiction series, organized by Brooks Rexroat, who also played MC and snapped photos and was all-round awesome.

My phone takes terrible photos in low light, but that's Brooks in the red cardigan.
My phone takes terrible photos in low light, but that’s Brooks in the red cardigan.

The bar was cool, but it was a BAR, which meant it was dim inside except for up at the mic, where we had lights trained on us — which meant there was no way to get a good reading selfie with the crowd. The upside is that, from the audience, I was able to get some decent photos of my fellow performers!

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