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Posts Tagged ‘Sunshine State Book Festival’

There was a lunar eclipse the other night, or rather, very early in the morning, about 3 a.m. I didn’t wake up for this one, because I had heard, incorrectly, that it was to be merely a partial eclipse. Only after I missed it did I learn it had been a total. Oh, well. I’d stayed up for another total lunar eclipse just a few months ago.

That was Sunday night, May 15th. It had been raining off and on and the weather forecast called for cloudy skies and a chance for more rain. I prayed for the weather to clear. We needed rain, but couldn’t it let up for just a few hours? I wanted very much to watch this eclipse. It was to be a dress rehearsal for one that is to occur June 8, 2123. Yes, I said 2123, 101 years from now. Why, you might ask, would I be interested in an eclipse more than a century from now? Surely, I don’t intend to live that long, do I?

No, I’m not likely to live another hundred years, but I hope my novels will.

Season of the Dove takes place in 2123. For a story to be interesting, the lives of the characters must be thrown into chaos. This happens when a Category 6 hurricane devastates North Florida, where I live. To date, the worst hurricane I’ve weathered was a Cat 2, and that was enough for me. The largest storm is rated Category 5, but in the next 100 years they’ll probably have to add additional categories. In this fictional future, the worst is Cat 7.

In the book, after things settle down a bit (Or do they?), I wanted a second crisis, a turning point for the novel. After I witnessed the Solar Eclipse of 2017, I thought a solar eclipse would be just the thing. I searched the internet, but unfortunately none were predicted in the US in the time frame of my story, even if I adjusted it by a year or two.

How about a lunar eclipse? Good news! A total eclipse of the moon is predicted to occur on the night of June 8th and 9th, 2123. Perfect timing. My heroes will be in the mountains of North Georgia at this time. Will it be visible in their part of the world? Yes! The eclipse will be visible over the entire eastern US, including Georgia. It’s predicted that the moon will turn orange or red during the eclipse, a phenomenon known as “blood moon.”

Blood Moon in 2021

In the story, the eclipse starts late at night and is at maximum around midnight. I wrote clear weather into the story so my characters could experience the entire spectacle. In this dystopian future, my heroes are reasonably intelligent people, but US civilization has degraded to the point that the masses are poorly educated and superstitious. When the moon turns red, spectators become anxious, fearing it to be some kind of omen. To complicate matters, I threw in a minor earthquake at the moment of maximum eclipse, just a little one, enough to be felt, enough to knock a drunken man off his feet and cause panic among the gullible.

If my novel survives into the 22nd Century when this eclipse occurs, what will my readers think? That I’m some kind of prophet? Or will they realize I had access to the internet and the calculations of astronomers? It would be fun to stick around and find out.

The Appalachians are not widely known as an earthquake zone, but they do have small quakes, more often than you’d think. I haven’t personally experienced one, but two of my family members have, and I used their accounts of the experience in the story. Earthquakes not being as predictable as hurricanes, I’m not aware of any foretold for the year 2123. If that were to happen, especially at the same time as a lunar eclipse, well, that would be just a little too weird.

Back to the present. The May, 2022 eclipse was predicted to occur at the same time of night as the one in June of 2123, with the same coloration of the moon. I wanted to see it for myself. I didn’t spend the entire night outdoors—the mosquitoes would have eaten me alive. I know, you can view these online, but I prefer to watch them in person. I peeked out every few minutes to see how the eclipse was developing.

At 10:30, the brightness of the full moon began to diminish. By 11:00, the shadow of the Earth fell over half the moon, making it look like a fat, silver crescent. At 11:30—Oh No!—clouds covered the sky and I couldn’t even find the moon. Fifteen minutes later, the sky cleared enough that I could see a small orange disk in the southern sky, about 30 degrees above the horizon. Over the next hour, I watched light play along the lower side of the orange ball, from the right side to the left as the eclipse progressed.

At 1:00 in the morning, a beautiful silver crescent appeared on the lower left side and grew larger as the Earth’s shadow passed. The moon again brightened the night, and I retired for some well-earned sleep, satisfied that my description of the 2123 eclipse was accurate enough.

I’m not going to give away more of the story right now, but Season of the Dove has been on Kindle Vella for over a year. Presently, I’m doing some editing and preparing to publish it in book form. I’ll let you know. I could have left it on Vella longer, but I want to make it available to more readers in time for the Sunshine State Book Festival in January. I’ll see you there!

 

Check out my other books on Amazon, the award-winning Trials by Fire and it’s sequel Quest for Namai. 

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The last time I posted, in early January, I was looking forward to our third annual Sunshine State Book Festival at the end of the month. As penalty for diligence and hard work, I’d found myself chairman of the committee. My equally hardworking comrades were putting the finishing touches on the Festival. We’d rented the Oaks Mall in Gainesville for Saturday’s event. Nearly 100 authors, both local and from elsewhere, were registered. I was one of them, with a new book to offer. Five interesting speakers were scheduled for the next day at the Matheson History Museum.

Then Omicron. As infection rates skyrocketed, so did our anxiety. Authors began to drop out over concern for their health. We, too, questioned the advisability of holding a large indoor event during a wave in the pandemic. We hated to change our plans, but people’s safety was at stake.

So much uncertainty. How long would Omicron plague us? What if we change the date and there is another surge of the coronavirus? None of had a crystal ball, but we had no choice. For the second time, COVID disrupted our plans. We postponed the festival.

That meant changing the dates with the Mall and the Matheson. Fortunately both were available on the 9th and 10th of April.

If, in January, we were ready to launch the Festival in three weeks, three months should have us uber-prepared, right? Hold on. When you’re forced to punt, you can’t score until your next possession. If your opponent is worthy enough, it can take a good deal of time and effort to get to your next possession. That’s where we found ourselves.

We had been advertising for months. Promotional materials had been printed and distributed. Not only did the registered authors need to know of the change, the public and local media had to be informed. A lot of leg (or laptop) work. Besides correcting things, we kept finding stuff that should have been done earlier, plus a few things that just weren’t going to get done. Let’s hope they’re not critical.

There you have it, my long-winded excuse for failing to post in over three months. We are supposed to be using our social media to promote the Festival. Have you seen anything on mine? Oh, I was waiting until the last minute, to balance out those people (you know the type) who are prompt with everything.

So, if you are anywhere within driving distance of Gainesville, Florida on the weekend of April 9th, there’s plenty of parking at the Oaks Mall. Pop in and visit the Sunshine State Book Festival. Look me up at table 47. I’ll have copies of Trials by Fire and my latest book Quest for Namai. I’ll also have bookmarks with the QR code to Season of the Dove, which is on Kindle Vella, but not available in book form yet.

On Sunday, don’t miss the speakers at the Matheson.

If you can’t come, check out my books anyway. You’ll be glad you did.

Fire

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In January 2020, the Writers Alliance of Gainesville, of which I am a part, presented their First Annual Sunshine State Book Festival, featuring some 75 authors, several speakers, and reenactors of famous writers of the past. It was a resounding success.

January 2020 Sunshine State Book Festival

Once the excitement settled down, we began planning the second annual SSBF. Then COVID. Talk about deflating your balloon! It was not long before we realized there were to be no traditional festivals for quite some time. Time to regroup and get creative.

Why not a virtual festival? The advantage of a virtual event is that presenters and participants are not limited by geography. They can be from anywhere in the world. And they are. Most of our nearly 100 authors are from Florida, but some are from other states, and a few international writers are included.

Rather than sitting in a booth with their books displayed in front of them, authors videotaped short talks on their books. Instead of standing in front of a podium in an auditorium, guest speakers appear in videotaped presentations. In addition, we were not limited to a single weekend. Once launched, the festival could be live for months. And it is. Don’t miss it.

Please visit: https://www.sunshinestatebookfestival.com/

The planning stages for the 2022 Sunshine State Book Festival are underway. Hopefully, this will be a traditional festival, but we’re prepared for any eventuality.

Don’t forget to visit my booth:

https://www.sunshinestatebookfestival.com/au_pg1.html#Rogers

Happy reading!

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Bonnie T. Ogle

Award Winning Childrens Author

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