Hidden Gems: Book fair lets readers meet the authors up close and personal

Hidden Gems: Book fair lets readers meet the authors up close and personal
LARA JO HIGHTOWER/Special to the Free Weekly

When notices started going up around Eureka Springs about the “Meet the Maker” events frequently held during the holiday season, Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow Executive Director Michelle Hannon had a flash of inspiration: Why couldn’t WCDH emulate these cheery salons, where artists were available to chat with potential art buyers, by hosting an event where readers could meet the writers of some of their favorite books?

“Our writers are all creators too; let’s do the same thing for them,” says Hannon. “It’s ‘Meet the Story Maker,’ and you’re buying the book directly from the writer. It’s a book that’s going to be signed by the author with a personalized message, which is a thoughtful gift you can be proud of. Buying a book directly from the writer that created it is a purchase you can feel good about.”

Zeek Taylor is one of 19 authors who will be on hand to chat with readers at the Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow “Meet the Story Maker” event on Dec. 4. He has written two books of short stories based on his life in Arkansas: “Out of the Delta” and “Out of the Delta II,” and an art book, “Chimps Having Fun.” (Courtesy photo)

Hannon says 19 authors are scheduled to appear, and each will read a 15-minute selection from their book.

“There will be something for everybody — books for children, young adults and adults — in a wide range of genres,” she says. “Everything from fantasy, poetry, history, mystery, anthologies, to entertain, educate and inspire.”

Admission is free, as is the gift wrapping that will be offered during the event. However, says Hannon, donations are always welcome and will support the scholarship fund that helps bring a diverse slate of authors to WCDH, including “emerging writers and marginalized voices.” The Dairy Hollow Echo, an anthology of work from the online literary magazine published four times a year, will be available for purchase. The anthology includes 107 stories, poems, essays and other creative works from 87 different authors. The Carroll County branch of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library will also be present.

WCDH first opened its doors to writers in 2000 and, today, offers eight private suites designed to provide the quiet surroundings necessary for authors to work. European-style gourmet meals are served each night, Monday through Friday, and the kitchen is stocked with food and cooking implements so that guests can fend for themselves for the remaining meals.

“The Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow is an incubator for creative thought,” reads a quote on the organization’s website from author Crescent Dragonwagon, original founder of Dairy Hollow in its former incarnation as a bed and breakfast and internationally renowned restaurant. “Writers can come here to find their stories — not only the stories they come here knowing they want to tell, but the stories beneath that. The stories that have an even greater need to be told.”

Hannon, who has been in her position for two and a half years now, says it has given her fresh insight into the writer’s life.

“I am not a writer myself, but I am a reader,” she says. “I have been my whole life — a voracious one. I absolutely love to read, and I read like I eat — I’ll try anything and find something I like about it. And working at the Writer’s Colony, I have come to a new appreciation for writers. I understand how much goes into getting a story from an idea in a writer’s head to that published work that you’re holding in your hands. It is a long journey — and it’s really such a gift that these creators give to all of us. So when you get to meet the writer, face to face, it’s brilliant. You can find out what inspired the writer, the journey they took.”

Sean Fitzgibbon created this rendering of himself at work on his upcoming graphic novel, “What Follows Is True: Crescent Hotel.” He will discuss and sign his book Dec. 4 at “Meet the Story Maker.” (Courtesy image/Copyright Sean Fitzgibbon)



‘Meet the Story Maker’

WHO — Participating authors include Woody Barlow, Lee Ann Crisp, Clover Danos, Sean Fitzgibbon, Mariellen Griffith, Nancy Hartney, Peggy Perry Hill, Keith Scales, Zeek Taylor, John Tw0-Hawks and Cheri White

WHEN — 10 p.m.-2 p.m. Dec. 4

WHERE — Eureka Springs Community Center, 44 Kingshighway, Eureka Springs, hosted by Writers’ Colony at Dairy Hollow

COST — Admission is free; books will be for sale

INFO — 253-7444



Meet The Authors

Nineteen local authors will be in attendance at the Dairy Hollow Writer’s Colony “Meet the Story Maker” event. Here’s a closer look at who they are.

Woody Barlow was a Vietnam Combat Veteran, and Level III Operations Manager for the FAA before retiring to Eureka Springs, becoming a firefighter and assistant chief of the Grassy Knob Fire Department, and a WCDH board member. His books include a memoir, a non-fiction novel, a book of poetry, and his recently released young adult novel, “The Guardians of Eureka Springs,” which deals with divorce and Mucklots, reptilian creatures that inhabit the dark places around Eureka Springs.

Catherine Buercklin is a writer and contemporary poet from Conway, Arkansas, who loves collaborating with other artists. Her new book is “A (Social) Distance: Poetry and Prose in the Time of a Pandemic.”

Lea Ann Crisp is a native of Northwest Arkansas from Bella Vista with a background in fine art and graphic design. Her children’s books include “We Need the Dark”, a bedtime book to help ease a child’s fear of the dark, and “Ryan’s Pirates”, about a boy who is afraid to sleep because he thinks there are pirates in his room.

Clover Danos started writing stories at a young age, inspired by the natural beauty of the Ozarks, the creative atmosphere of Eureka Springs, and time spent reading at our local library. She particularly enjoys writing about magic and monsters, but also likes to dabble in many different genres including short stories, novel-length works, and poetry. Her novel, “Mystery of a Witch”, is a young adult fantasy novel with curses, crumbling castles, magical battles, a dragon fight, and time travel.

Harrie Farrow, author of the novels “Love, Sex, and Understanding the Universe” and “Finding Bonita”, grew up in the Caribbean, spent her twenties in San Francisco, and her thirties and forties running a fine dining restaurant in Eureka Springs and raising a son. She’s a bisexual/LGBTQ advocate, political activist, and elected official serving her second term as Justice of the Peace. When not writing, she enjoys cooking, swimming, kayaking, dancing, and traveling.

Sean Fitzgibbon is an artist who explores unusual, real places and events through his work. He’s been teaching college art for nearly twenty years, has an MFA in art, and a passion for making art and visual storytelling. He will offer promotional books for his upcoming non-fiction historical graphic novel “What follows is True: Crescent Hotel”.

Mariellen Griffith is an Arkansas Master Naturalist and Gardener, and member of the Eureka Springs Historical Society. She is Professor Emeritus, Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, where she taught for twenty-four years. She has published ten books including “Murder in Eureka Springs: Three Novellas”, “Murder at Brews”, “Mystery of the Bones in the Underground”, “Mystery of the Ancient Burial Site”, and “The Mystery of the Disappearing Village”. Her latest book is “Conspiracy on Mars”.

Nancy Hartney writes books rooted in a Southern landscape. Her books include, “If You Walk Long Enough”, a novel published in 2021 set against the backdrop of Vietnam; Two short stories collections, “If the Creek Don’t Rise: Tales from the South”, published in 2016; and “Washed in the Water: Tales from the South”, published in 2013. A photographer, Nancy Hartney will also offer pictures of her rambles around the country.

Laura Matson Hahn earned a Master’s in Communications and spent 30 years working in strategic communications. She then crafted her novel, “The Heart Code”, an homage to the philosophy of living according to one’s heart voice and wisdom. She lives on Beaver Lake and serves on the WCDH Board of Directors.

Tony Kendrew is delighted to have landed in Arkansas after the many travels that are echoed in his books. Much of his writing reflects his love affair with nature but, born a Welshman, he also writes about the push and pull between our roots and origins and the adventure of new places and faces. His work includes “Beasts and Beloveds” (poetry, CD), “Feathers Scattered in the Wind” (poetry), “Turning” (poetry, paperback and CD), and “Transatlanticdotes: A Little Book of Quite Short Stories”.

Ruth Mitchell has worked as a travel writer, freelancer, editor, and educational textbook writer. Her novels include “White Oak and Beyond: A Tale of Discovery on the Other Side of Life”. She will have her novel “Beyond” and her self-help book, “Living Happy, Joyous, and Free”, for sale.

Peggy Perry-Hill is an author, retreat facilitator and lifelong activist who has written several books, including an artistic book of profound poetry entitled, “The Wind of My Soul”. Her recently published book, “Give Peas a Chance: Recipes, Nostalgia & Songs of the ’60s”, is part memoir, part cookbook and all feel-good.

Keith Scales is an actor, director, playwright, and managed the ghost tours at the Crescent Hotel for ten years. As Artistic Director of the Classic Greek Theatre of Oregon he wrote and directed English versions of sixteen of the ancient plays. He has written many novels and short stories including “House of a Hundred Rooms: Tales the Ghost Tour Guides Do Not Tell”, “Seven Story Hotel: Tales Told by the Ghosts of the Basin Park Hotel”, “John Dee’s Back Leg: A Metaphysical Farce”, and “Brane Fever: Five Stories in One”.

Zeek Taylor is an artist, author, and storyteller. He has read his short stories on the NPR radio show “Tales from the South” and is a co-host of the live storytelling show “Homegrown Tales”. A native Arkansan, he is a recipient of the AR Governor’s Art Award for Lifetime Achievement. He has written two books of short stories based on his life in Arkansas: “Out of the Delta” and “Out of the Delta II”, and an art book, “Chimps Having Fun”.

Wendy Taylor Carlisle is the author of four books and five chapbooks including “On the Way to the Promised Land Zoo”. She is the 2020 winner of the 2020 Phillip H. McMath Post-Publication Award for “The Mercy of Traffic”.

Charles Templeton is a member of the WCDH Board of Directors and serves as the Acquisitions Editor for its literary magazine, eMerge. He was the driving force behind the new anthology of selections from eMerge, the “Dairy Hollow Echo,” which celebrates the twentieth anniversary of the WCDH. He is the author of “Boot: A Sorta Novel of Vietnam”.

John Two-Hawks is a Grammy® and Emmy® nominated recording artist, speaker, activist and author who has traveled the world sharing the healing power of love, compassion and humility, and offering global, Indigenous, earth-based approaches to physical, emotional and spiritual health and wellness. His work includes the new book “Of Mist and Stone – A Journey into the Mysterious Oneness of Two Ancient Worlds” and the autobiographical book about his traumatic childhood, “Hidden Medicine – Surviving, Healing and Rising from the Ashes of Abuse”.

Ashley Wellman, PhD, serves on the WCDH Board of Directors, is an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice and Legal Studies at the University of Mississippi, and is the owner of aMUSEd Fine Art and Extraordinary Books on Spring Street in Eureka Springs. She will be selling “The Girl Who Dances with Skeletons: My Friend Fresno”, “My Friend Fresno Coloring Book”, “The Princess and the Pea: A Fixed-Up Fairy Tale”, Fresno plush and puzzle collection, and her first young adult fantasy novel “Ghosts of the Abbey”.

Cheri White, freelance writer/reporter, is the author of “Seven Lucky Bunnies and the Magic Muffin Dance”. The book also contains a music CD and is illustrated by Christina Smith, well-known for her nature and bird illustrations. All proceeds from the book will go directly to the building fund for a new library in Berryville, part of the Carroll-Madison County library system.

Jodie English Brown will represent Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for Carroll County. The organization sends one age-appropriate book per month to Carroll County children completely free to foster a passion for reading, spark their imagination, and create a life-long love of learning in preschool children by ensuring that every child born has books, regardless of their family’s income.

“The Dairy Hollow Echo”, released in August 2021, is an anthology of selected works from “eMerge”, the online literary magazine of WCDH. It features 107 stories, poems, essays, and other creative work by 87 authors, and celebrates 20 years of WCDH.

Categories: Cover Story