Friday, October 12, 2012

Melinda McGuire: Guest Blogger on Tea Cakes and Whiskey

Melinda McGuire Guest Blogs on Tea Cakes and Whiskey

Fairhope, AL held its annual Grand Festival of Arts and Books last weekend. My fellow Southern writer and blogger, Melinda McGuire, who is a devoted believer in the promotion of Southern writers made the trip to Fairhope from Texas. Here is her impressions of her trip and the Festival.

 Melinda, welcome to Tea Cakes and Whiskey!

Road Trip
This past weekend I traveled from northeast Texas to Fairhope, Alabama, for the Book Festival sponsored by Page and Palette.

To be honest, I had planned on this post being a list of things that were wrong with the festival, but I will say just two things about that:
1) Communication is the key to success. An email letting people know that they are registered and what they can expect when they arrive (where to go, who to speak to) would have been greatly appreciated. And, a packet with information and details when the exhibitors for the book side of the festival arrived would have been excellent.

2) Note to self – when the literature for something says “Over 150 authors and exhibitors join together to bring thousands of art and book lovers to downtown Fairhope,” this might actually mean 7 authors with booths, 10 authors hosted by Page and Palette, and the rest were art and crafts exhibitors.
Okay, one last thing about that – if you are a writer and you are thinking about setting up a booth for this next year, please feel free to send me an email – melindamcguirewrites at yahoo dot com – and I will be glad to share more about my experience there.

Now, enough of that. On with the good stuff!

Leaving the Pine Curtain (northeast Texas)

Pine trees heading from home to Shreveport

It was beautiful weather for a road trip.
I left out early Thursday morning. First “big” city on the trip is Shreveport.

Getting close to the river

The next “leg” of the drive is from Shreveport to Natchitoches then on to Alexandria. Once you pass through Alexandria, things get a little muddier

Whiskey Bay exit, before Lafayette

I’ve never stopped in Whiskey Bay, Louisiana, but I am going to next time. I want a picture of that bay.
I stopped in Lafayette on my way down to meet Erin Z. Bass (Deep South Magazine) and had some Gelato at Carpe Diem. The downtown area of Lafayette is wonderful and vibrant. Carpe Diem was a cute shop, and the gelato, well, I had the salted carmel. They had free samples, but really, when you see salted carmel gelato, is there really any reason to try anything else? No. Not for me.

After leaving Lafayette, I hung a left and headed towards Baton Rouge.
A little side note: when I was younger, I had these “improve your memory” books that were full of devices to help you with your study skills and memorization tricks. There was a cartoon of a giant red stick stuck in the mud in a map of Louisiana because Baton Rouge is the capitol of Louisiana and the name means “red stick” – so there you go, the memory books worked!! 1 cartoon out of a set of 10 books…

Leaving Baton Rouge, we drove through Slidell, and then on into Mississippi. It was dark so I don’t have any pictures of that part of the drive (unfortunately).

The next morning, it was time to go to work!

Before the festival

Downtown Fairhope, Alabama is beautiful, artistic, shops on every corner. It really is a great place.

Flannery made the trip from Lafayette to Fairhope. Deep South Magazine is sponsoring a conference in November. Wish I could go!

Setting up the booth …

Rich Fabric anthology and my grandmother’s handstitched quilt

I think someone forgot to mention to Fairhope that October is actually Fall, not summer. They really didn’t get the memo on that.

I’m melting… The Powerade bottle in the background adds to the quality of the pic

I remembered to bring the copies of Josephine – Red Dirt and Whiskey that had the “Adult Content” stickers on the front cover. I don’t want anyone to be “surprised” by that!

Josephine Red Dirt and Whiskey

Nelson and Cora got to hang out in the shade for the morning.

Nelson and Cora
I met some GREAT people there --
Sarah Watson, illustrator

Jessica Jones, editor, writer, special publications news director with Gulf Coast Newspapers

Rosemary Palmer, writer from Nottingham, UK. (That’s a long way to travel!)

Isabelle Parker from Wonga Studios. Our conversation kickstarted all kinds of brainstorming

Nita McGlawn, a previous guest of mine on Southern Creatives and author of Bama Primer.

 After the festival ended, I stopped at Cousin Vinny’s in Daphne, Alabama, for the best muffaletta sandwich, period.

Dinner at Cousin Vinny’s in Daphne, Alabama. It was ridiculously good.

Heading Home

On my way home, I thought it was a little too early for Boudin …

Stayed overnight in Lafayette. Headed out the next morning –

But then when we made it to Scott, Louisiana, I decided that no, it actually wasn’t too early for Boudin
Drove the scenic route from Scott to Natchitoches (meaning I got off the interstate!)

Cora’s Antiques in Natchitoches, La. My Cora would approve! 

Home again, home again…

Hello again my lovelies!
Thanks, Melinda. Hope to see you at next year's Festival!

Contact Melinda McGuire

Author's page on Amazon: Melinda_McGuire
Twitter: @melindamcguire


  1. Fun post - newsy and personal and the pictures were a bonus. I agree with Melinda. We had to wander around to find the Birdfest video and everything else. P&P was definitely not organized to help people find out what was going on and when. BUT, we meandered around and met new writers - Gulf Coast Authors booth was truly interesting - lots of new books and nice people. I'd never heard of them before. Got some books I wanted, ate a good lunch at Julia's, found wonderful craft ideas. Wish I had met you Melinda.

    1. Wish I could have been there with y'all! Next year...

  2. Kat, I enjoyed chatting with you today (during Deep South Mag's #southernlit chat on Twitter).I manage the library's @BPL account. I'm also a Southern writer, so I wanted to follow your fun blog. Have a great weekend!

    All best,


  3. Thanks, Hunter. The chat was lots of fun. I almost have the taste of squirrel in my mouth. (Not necessarily a good thing!) So glad you like the blog! Good luck with the writing! Kat

  4. Ha! No, that is NOT a good thing. :) Thanks for the well wishes. Same to you! Your blog is great, btw! Cheers and talk soon! -Hunter

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