A New Boise Book Faire!

The beginning of November saw a new event in the Treasure Valley: the Boise Public Library’s first annual Boise Book Faire.

As this page on the BPL’s website details, this was an opportunity for attendees to connect with talented local authors showcasing a broad variety of books in a range of genres. Authors were available for meeting and chatting with, and the Library had scheduled several 45-minute workshops.

Over twenty authors from throughout Idaho took part in this inaugural event:

Taylor Van Arsdale, LL (Laurie) Bower, E. N. Crane, Dena Parker Duke, Matt Edwards, Rebecca Evans, Taylor R. Gray, J. Guzman, Merri Halma, S. F. Harris, Margaret Koger, James T. Lambert, J. Brandon Lowry, Patricia Marcantonio, Brad Mathews, Bryan McBee, Christi Nogle, Brock Poulsen, Amy Maren Rice, Dawn R. Schuldenfrei, Nicole Sharp, Madi Vale, and Cindi V. Walton

Attendee and author-participant Margaret Koger passed along this, from organizer Josh Shapel: We had 23 authors attend the event, with just slightly over 200 attendees during the 4 hours it was open. The Library printed three holiday gift guides (for kids, teens, and adults), with book recommendations gathered from the staff. We considered it a successful first year and look forward to seeing it develop further in the future.

Writers and Readers: Calendar this new opportunity!

Photo by Kate Bezzubets on Unsplash

Best Holiday Idea

Every family, group of friends, or even individual people have their favorite end-of-calendar-year holiday traditions. But one that has been accumulating more interest in recent years is the adoption of an Icelandic tradition: the Christmas Book Flood or Jolabokaflod.

It’s a bit of a natural that this tradition developed in this small and unique country, because stories have always been an integral part of Icelandic culture. (Sagas, anyone?)

Jolabokaflod is reportedly a newer tradition, dating from the mid-20th century.

It’s an easy tradition for you and your friends and/or family to establish:

  1. Buy books.
  2. Wrap them up.
  3. Exchange these gifts on Christmas Eve (or your own special festive day).
  4. Curl up with the books that evening, along with a cup of hot cocoa.

Writers in Residence

Idaho is graced with several Writers in Residence. (Note: If you know of others, feel free to let me know and I will add to this post as appropriate.)

  • The writer must apply and be evaluated.
  • The post is for a limited duration (from months to years).
  • The recipient receives a stipend.
  • The Writer in Residence is typically expected to present public events, speaking about their work and/or the craft of writing.

Idaho

Kerri Webster is the state of Idaho’s Writer in Residence for 2024-2025. She is the recipient of numerous prizes for her work and is the author of four books of poetry. She’s a former professor of poetry at Boise State University and has taught poetry at Boise’s The Cabin.

Other recent Idaho Writers in Residence include: CMarie Fuhrman, Malia Collins, Christian Winn, Diane Raptosh, Brady Udall, Anthony Doerr, and Kim Barnes. Read more about Idaho’s Writer in Residence program.

Hemingway House

The Community Library manages the Hemingway House Writer in Residence program which appears to have a shorter duration and is definitely by invitation only. Read more about it on these pages:

Boise

The City of Boise has just inaugurated a Writer-in-Residence program, as we mentioned in this post last July. This initiative is a collaborative program between the Boise City Department of Arts & History, Boise Public Library, and The Cabin.

The post is funded by the City of Boise and the initial six-month residency was awarded to Heidi Kraay and Natalie Disney, alumni and teachers at Boise State University (links to article detailing their background).

Natalie Disney is currently serving (Oct. 2023 through March 2024) and Heidi Kraay will serve Apr. 2024 through September 2024.

Header image from the Punctuation Personified collection (circa 1824)

Italians in WA, OR, ID

Recently joining the acclaimed series from Arcadia Publishing drawing upon localized history by regional authors is this book on the Italians that settled in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington states.

Local author and community historian Tessa Floreano draws primarily on unpublished images, stories, and memorabilia from the Italian American community in three Pacific Northwest states. Tessa is a dual Italian-Canadian married to an American, who is interested in exploring history, and chose this book as a way to honor fellow Italians in her adopted homeland. 

From hardscrabble days as homesteaders and farmers in the 1880s to becoming successful entrepreneurs of the postwar boom generation, Italian immigrants settled and later thrived in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Italians labored in several industries including railway tie hacking, coal mining, logging, canning salmon, terra-cotta and brick manufacturing, truck farms, and grocery stores. They also contributed to inventions from the collapsible crab pot to the atomic bomb, the vaudeville circuit, the Pellegrini bean, and one-of-a-kind accordions. It is the author’s hope that this book highlights the contributions of many Pacific Northwest Italians, known and unknown.

Available from the publisher, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and probably your favorite local bookstore.

How Do You Idaho?

Rick Just, Idaho historian and author of numerous books, has just released a definitive guide to How To Be An Idahoan — The Idaho Conversion Kit.

This is the second book in his Speaking of Idaho history series. The Idaho Conversion Kit is a tongue-in-cheek instruction manual on becoming an Idahoan in ten easy steps.

One step is a pronunciation guide to Idaho place names, the first of its kind since 1975. Readers will learn how Idaho got its shape, which Idahoans were notorious enough to have nicknames, the Idaho connections of famous people, and much more.

Oh, and you’ll never use the term “glove compartment” again.

Available on Amazon, or purchase a signed copy from the author (scroll down on this page).

Michael K. Edwards – Spirits of Idaho

He grew up on farmland in the Magic Valley before earning a degree in biology from Idaho State University, and then did research on potato variety development in Aberdeen before moving to a position in factory automation with Lamb-Weston. After moving with his family to Kennewick, Washington in 1992, he returned to Idaho with his wife following his retirement where they’ve lived in Meridian since 2010.

Just Launched

In the enigmatic mountain town of Copper Creek, Rachael Greystone must trust her abilities as a Comanche Spirit Talker to uncover long-buried secrets that will ultimately decide her fate, as well as that of the entire town.

Rachael Greystone has denied having special abilities since childhood, insisting it was all superstition. However, superstition doesn’t explain the woman in a long white dress along a lonely stretch of mountain road – particularly when Rachael stops and finds a necklace by the roadside and the woman vanishes before she can return it. That was before Jason Coleman hires her to restore the historic Coleman Theater as part of his plan to revitalize the gold mining town his great-great-grandfather founded. But there are forces in the valley that resist change…

Available on Amazon.

Meet the Author

The timing is great to meet this author whose website address says it all: spiritsofidaho.com.

Do you have a writing routine? Where and when do you write?

I usually write in the morning. I get my best ideas for the next chapter at night before bed.

Do you have any patterns or rituals associated with your writing time?

I drink lots of coffee.

What do you do when you hit a wall with your writing?

I usually work on something else for a while, and then go back when I feel inspired.

Do you plan your book in advance (plotting and outlining) or are you a “discovery writer” (AKA “writing into the dark”)? Or are you somewhere in between?

I usually have a general plan in mind, but it changes over time and re-writes. Once I get a good start, I have a spreadsheet that I use to keep track of chapters, characters, events and a timeline. One important column is purpose of chapter. Sometimes I realize that I have already fulfilled that purpose in another chapter.

What’s the last book you read that made you go “wow!”?

I recently read Beulah by Christi Nogle.

What book or author do you find yourself recommending and why?

I really don’t have a favorite author. I used to read a lot of Stephen King, but he had a season for his best books.

What’s on your To Be Read pile?
  • Beyond the Veil by Nicky Shearsby
  • Mark of a Demon by Desponia Kemeridou
  • The Ghost Manuscript by Kris Frieswick
What advice do you have for readers?

If you start reading a book and give it a good chance, but it hasn’t grabbed your attention, unless it is a textbook, drop it.

What author, past or present, would you wish to have a long conversation with? Why?

Shirley Jackson. I read The Haunting when I was in high school and it has haunted me ever since. She could create a mood without jump scares or blood and murder.

Do you have early memories of reading or writing you’d like to share?

I had two high school teachers that encouraged me to go into writing. At that time, I did mostly humor. I actually started college to become a writer, but changed majors.

What books and/or authors have most influenced you as an author?

I think, by far, Shirley Jackson. But King’s earlier books (The Shining, IT, The Stand) were also good. For example, IT was more about kids growing up than a monster.

What do you most enjoy about being a writer? What do least enjoy about being a writer?

I most enjoy the writing. It is challenging and creative. The least I enjoy is trying to sell the thing.

What would you tell a new writer?

Keep after it and don’t give up. I was 70 years old when I started the first novel. I really had no intention of selling it, I think I just wanted to see if I could. Finding a publisher was the hardest.