Monday, March 18, 2013

Southwest Florida Reading Festival Draws Passionate Readers

Saturday was an outstanding Florida day for the annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival at Harborside Event Center in Old Fort Myers! With about 18,000 in attendance, the grounds teamed with passionate readers anxious to check out the newest books and authors on the scene.

The canvas-covered kiosks dotting the grounds displayed a wide range of products. Some focused on children's books and educational aids, while others represented schools, daycare centers, home school organizations, and parenting magazines. Basically, one could find any and everything designed to educate, involve, and stimulate the reader's mind. Plenty of food concessions were on hand, including one of my favorites, Jason's Deli, which had box lunches for only $5. 

One large tented area was dedicated to book readings and activities for young children. Another catered to middle school and high school age youth. As I strolled past the children's area, I heard sounds of laughter and squeals of delight. When I peeked inside, I saw a radio show host doing an animated book reading that seemed to captivate both adults and children.  

Meanwhile, inside the event center, more authors lectured and performed book readings. One large hall was dedicated to area booksellers and local authors. Writers displayed their books and were happy to sign and personalize them for willing buyers. Members of local writers organizations grouped together,  including Pine Island Writers, Peace River Writers, and Gulf Coast Writers Association, of which I am a member. I set up my book table between 1 pm and 4 pm, and showcased Benny's Angel, the first book in God's Secret Garden Adventures, my picture book series for young children. That book soon will be joined by two more  in the series - Fred D's Amazing Escape and Catie's Secret. You can get a preview of these two books in earlier posts.

When I do a book signing, one of the most enjoyable things for me is watching the children's faces as they look through the book. They seem to respond to the bright colors and animated appearance of the characters. The 3-D version of the book always grabs their attention, especially the boys. Saturday was enjoyable and productive for this author, as I sold and signed my book, networked, and shared writing experiences with fellow authors. For me, exchanging stories is a favorite part of author events.

If you have never attended the Southwest Florida Readers Festival, put it on your calendar for March 2014. If you go, allow plenty of time to park and figure on at least a couple of hours to wander about and visit the various areas of interest. There is so much for both adults and children to enjoy at this information-packed, fun-filled event. 

                                                                                  ~Laura Allen Nonemaker

Thursday, March 14, 2013


Today I have the great pleasure of being the host on Day 2 of the Virtual Blog Tour for FaithLeaps: The Christian Mom's Guide to Passion, Purpose and Profits by author Alyssa Avant. On the last stop of the tour, Alyssa visited Lyn Parker's blog at  Following is the great interview I did with Alyssa about FaithLeaps.

Could you sum up for my readers what FaithLeaps: The Christian Mom's Guide to Passion, Purpose and Profits is all about? FaithLeaps is about helping moms to find or identify their God-given passion and purpose in life and ultimately to profit from it. By profiting I don't necessarily mean monetarily, but it could be.

Would you say FaithLeaps is a "business" book? Yes and no.  FaithLeaps is very much a book about faith. I just happen to share my journey, which included a great deal about life, ministry and business. 

What is a faith leap? A faith leap is stepping out of our own comfort zone into the hands of God.

I hope you enjoyed this interview with Alyssa Avant and that you'll check out FaithLeaps: The Christian Mom's Guide to Passion, Purpose, and Profits by Alyssa Avant at and on Amazon. Be sure to follow Alyssa on Monday, March 18 at her next stop on the Virtual Blog Tour over at Gina Weeks' blog at

Friday, March 1, 2013


I shared in a previous post how Fred D's Amazing Escape, the second children's book in my God's Secret Garden Adventures series, came to be. At that time, I promised to be back to tell you about the third book, Catie's Secret. Unfortunately, health issues with my husband and me kept me from staying current with my blog. I thank God that we are both doing well and resuming normal life (if our busy lives can be called normal for two retirees).

I love all the characters in my books, but especially Catie Caterpillar. She entered my imagination following a bug (pun intended) that my daughter, Lisa, put in my ear one day. "Mom, why don't you do a story about a butterfly?" were her words, as we talked about possible future topics for God's Secret Garden Adventures. She remembered my first encounter with raising butterflies not long before.  I had chronicled my experiences, some of them challenging, in a series of blog posts. Accompanied by photos, these earlier posts can be found in my blog archives.

When the nephew and niece of Mayor Benny (remember him from Benny's Angel?) come to Peaceful Meadow to eat clover and play, they find Catie crawling on a milkweed plant. She is eating voraciously and getting fatter and fatter. Then Catie is faced with a challenge and she must make a decision on how to react. She is a soft-spoken little thing, a bug of few words you might say. She decides to focus on the thing she knows best - eating.

I won't spoil the rest of the story by revealing it here, but suffice it to say that by the end of the book, the bunnies have experienced some valuable teaching moments. Both Fred D's Amazing Escape and Catie's Secret will be available by Summer 2013, when it can be purchased a number of ways, including Tate Publishing's online bookstore, my author website, Amazon.Com, and Barnes & Noble.Com.  

                                                                                              ©2013 Laura Allen Nonemaker