Thursday, December 22, 2011

Travels and Trails

With the release of Michigan and Rookie in September, I’ve been fortunate to participate in a number of book events. Of course traveling means giving up time at home and falling behind on things…like, well, my blog. After the official book launch at Indian Summer in Milwaukee, my next destination took me westward, to the South Dakota Festival of Books in Deadwood, SD.

I considered this invitation a real honor, knowing the level of distinguished authors and cultural figures in attendance, including 2011 keynote speaker/author, Joseph Marshall, III. The three-day event kicked off with an author reception at the historic Deadwood Public Library, with wine and appetizers, a chance to mingle and get to know others.

Deadwood Public Library

It was there I met Cathy A. Smith, an artist who crafted the traditional regalia for Hollywood’s biggest westerns such as Dances With Wolves, Last of the Mohicans, Son of Morning Star, Geronimo, and many more. Her power-point presentation was filled with photos of her work, authentic replicas of regalia from different time periods and native tribes. She shared stories of having to make six identical regalia pieces for each of the main characters in Dances With Wolves. She also made a replica of Crazy Horse’s warrior shirt for the cover of Joseph Marshall’s book, The Journey of Crazy Horse.

The imagery of her work captivated me completely! I absorbed every detail, fascinated with her stories and beautiful artistry. If you have any interest in period pieces of Native American regalia, you’ll want to go to her website and check out her amazing collection:

Friday and Saturday were filled with all kinds of events. The festival was spread out among several historic sites in downtown Deadwood, such as the Franklin Hotel, Masonic Temple, and Deadwood Pavilion. My presentation, “The Hidden Heritage Journey”, was at the Franklin Hotel on Main Street…apropos since the journey in fact started on Main Street Deadwood in 1999. (See post from Sept 29, 2011 for the remarkable details!)

I also shared the podium with Minnesota author Colleen Baldrica for a workshop titled “Seeking Heritage – Where Literature and Identity Intersect” in the upstairs meeting rooms of the Masonic Temple, an imposing building on the corner of Main Street.

All the authors gathered at the Deadwood Pavilion for two mass book signings where I ran into several friends and family of Paul LaRoche, and my friend, Wyoming poet Patricia Frolander.

Saturday’s events culminated with a delicious dinner and Joseph Marshall’s address at Deadwood Mountain Grand, a new hotel/casino event center being converted from the former slime plant of the Homestake Gold Mine.

The hubby and I stayed at The Lodge at Deadwood, another beautiful new hotel/casino on the edge of town, right across from Tatanka, Kevin Costner’s museum. Our room was on the fourth floor, so unless we were carrying boxes of books, we took the stairs and by the end of our sixth day, we could really feel those leg muscles toning up!

 As always, the hubby and I enjoyed our time in Paha Sapa, the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. We stayed an extra day to hit a few of our favorite spots: Rico’s in Hill City so the hubby could have tamales; Moonshine Gulch in tiny Rochford so we could have the best-ever cheeseburgers; Sundance, Wyoming…my dream home; and a stop at the Devils Tower National Monument, the very place I enjoyed a full week as a guest of the monument when I won a writer’s residency in 2008. We walked the Joyner Ridge Trail in the late afternoon, just as a full moon rose behind the tower, the perfect end to our stay in the hills.

Two weeks later I traveled to Elbow Lake, a tiny prairie town in western Minnesota for a meeting with a local writers group, followed with a presentation to a small but intimate group of ladies at the Thorson Memorial Library.

Last, but not least, I hopped a flight to Michigan for the Novi Pet Expo on the north side of Detroit. I hooked up with Joaquin and Rookie for three full days at the Suburban Showplace Convention Center (Suburban as in GMC and the SUV, ‘cuz in Detroit, all things good connect to the car industry!) where we met a number of dog lovers and new fans of the book.

And now the traveling is done and it's time to enjoy "home and holidays!"

No comments: