Af­ter­noon with the Authors com­ing this week­end

♦ Area writ­ers com­ing to take part in 5th an­nual event on Sun­day from 2 to 4:30 at In the Woods

The Standard Journal - - FRONT PAGE - By Kevin Myrick [email protected]­stan­dard­jour­nal.net

A love of books is a gift that may take a child far in life, and one that a lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tion wants the com­mu­nity’s help to pro­mote now and in the years to come. Join mem­bers of Ferst Readers of Polk County this com­ing Sun­day, Feb. 24, for the 5th an­nual “Af­ter­noon with the Authors” as they gather to pro­mote read­ing and fundrais­ing for their on­go­ing ef­forts to pro­vide more than 1,100 chil­dren lo­cally with books on a monthly ba­sis.

The Sun­day event at In the Wood on High­way 113 in Rock­mart brings four authors to Polk County, along with the an­nual silent auc­tion of both signed books from fa­mous lit­er­ary names and hand­crafted cakes of var­i­ous fla­vors and dec­o­ra­tion style. The pro­gram be­gins at 2 p.m. and con­tin­ues on un­til 4:30 p.m.

Along with Rome’s Janet By­ing­ton and Mer­rill Davies, Ferst Readers are pleased to host area writer Su­san Sands, and Gor­don County’s Vickie McEn­tire to speak at this week­end’s event.

The quar­tet of writ­ers will get a chance to share some of their sto­ries with the crowd while every­one has time to look over items up for the silent auc­tion.

Both have per­sonal tales that lo­cal lit­er­ary lovers can find com­mon themes.

Take for in­stance Sands, who is a self-de­scribed late bloomer in writ­ing. She didn’t pen her first novel un­til she was 40, and re­lated her de­but book’s pub­li­ca­tion much like “rais­ing an­other child – a dif­fi­cult one.”

Sands is the au­thor of four south­ern, con­tem­po­rary women’s fic­tion nov­els set in Alabama which in­clude “Again, Alabama” re­leased in 2015, “Love, Alabama” in 2016, “Christ­mas, Alabama” and “For­ever, Alabama” both in 2017.

Her nov­els pro­vide readers with a fun, ro­man­tic, hu­mor­ous small-town sto­ries that are filled with big fam­ily love.

Sands has three grown chil­dren and lives with her den­tist hus­band in Roswell. She has a de­gree in Ele­men­tary Ed­u­ca­tion, is a mem­ber of the Ge­or­gia Ro­mance Writ­ers, the Ro­mance Writ­ers of Amer­ica, the At­lanta Writer’s Club, and the Broadleaf Writ­ers As­so­ci­a­tion. She par­tic­i­pates in book fes­ti­vals, book clubs, and writer’s con­fer­ences around the South.

She was the re­cip­i­ent of the 2017 Ge­or­gia Au­thor of the Year award for ro­mance.

Ferst Readers of Polk County also in­vited along McEn­tire, an ac­tive sup­porter of lit­er­acy and pro­motes read­ing—specif­i­cally read­ing aloud to chil­dren—by mak­ing ap­pear­ances at lo­cal schools and li­braries, and on ra­dio and TV.

She’s a mem­ber of the Cal­hounGor­don Coun­cil for a Lit­er­ate Com­mu­nity and the Ferst Readers of Gor­don County, and men­tors the next gen­er­a­tion of writ­ers and at­tends writ­ers con­fer­ences and work­shops through­out the South­east.

McEn­tire con­ducted a work­shop—5 Things Ev­ery Chil­dren’s Book Writer Needs to Know—at the 2018 Red Clay Writ­ers Con­fer­ence at Ken­ne­saw State Univer­sity.

McEn­tire cred­its much of her writ­ing suc­cess to the sup­port of the Cal­houn Area Writ­ers, a lo­cal writ­ing group in North Ge­or­gia led by its’ founder, Karli Land. She is also a mem­ber of the So­ci­ety of Chil­dren’s Book Writ­ers and Il­lus­tra­tors and Ge­or­gia Writ­ers As­so­ci­a­tion.

Her work has been pub­lished in Telling Sto­ries: a Cal­houn Area Writ­ers An­thol­ogy, Lady Lit­er­ary Mag­a­zine, Dal­ton Liv­ing Mag­a­zine, Cal­houn Mag­a­zine, and Chicken Soup for the Soul: In­spi­ra­tion for Teach­ers and on her blog at www. alit­er­atelife.blogspot.com

She re­leased her first chil­dren’s book, “Baby Birds,” in Oc­to­ber 2016. It was il­lus­trated by Lana Kipe and nom­i­nated for the Ge­or­gia Au­thor of the Year Award.

McEn­tire said she was in­spired to write her chil­dren’s book by her three grown chil­dren and grand­son— her real life baby birds.

“Empty Nest,” a book of po­etry il­lus­trated by lo­cal artist and re­tired teacher, Sandy Dut­ton, was re­leased in May 2017. Her sec­ond chil­dren’s book, Lit­tle Bird and Myr­tle Tur­tle, re­leased in Oc­to­ber 2017 and was cho­sen as a fi­nal­ist in the 2018 Amer­i­can Book Fest In­ter­na­tional Book Awards and won the 2018 Ge­or­gia Au­thor of the Year Award in the chil­dren’s book cat­e­gory.

McEn­tire has do­nated copies of her chil­dren’s books to Je­sus Kids Home in Nige­ria, Ferst Readers, Hoosier Hills Food Bank Book Fair, and lo­cal school and com­mu­nity li­braries.

Aside from writ­ing, McEn­tire also works full time to bring com­mu­nity mem­bers to­gether for the ben­e­fit of fam­i­lies and chil­dren as the Fam­ily Con­nec­tion Co­or­di­na­tor for Gor­don County. She writes from her home in North­west Ge­or­gia, which she shares with her hus­band, Dave, and their cat.

Th­ese two, along with By­ing­ton and Davies, will be on hand to talk with book lovers dur­ing this week­end’s event.

Ev­ery dol­lar raised from the event goes to­ward sup­port­ing Ferst Readers of Polk County.

Those in­ter­ested in more in­for­ma­tion about how to help Ferst Readers or be­come a part of the or­ga­ni­za­tion can visit fer­stread­ers.org.

Al­ready, sev­eral lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions have of­fered their help in­clud­ing the ad­min­is­tra­tion and staff coun­ty­wide from the Polk School District. They do­nated $2,570 dur­ing a re­cent Board of Ed­u­ca­tion meet­ing that helps 71 of the chil­dren in Polk County re­ceive a book on a monthly ba­sis. Both the Rock­mart and Cedar­town Ki­wa­nis was an­other who do­nated $250 to the cause, along with $250 from the Polk County Ro­tary Club,

A $40 do­na­tion helps one child re­ceive a book an­nu­ally.

Su­san Sands

Vickie McEn­tire

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