Author/Crossroad Press Founder & CEO David Niall Wilson
riles the crowd at the Page After Page Author Fest
Come lunchtime on Friday, I bolted out of Greensboro and set out for the most
haunted and horrific Wilson House
(a.k.a. Dave and Trish's residence)
in Herford, NC
. For this was the weekend of the
Page After Page Author Fest
in Elizabeth City, NC
Wednesday, February 8
), and we were all set to appear.
Actually, I first had to swing up to Martinsville, VA, to take care of business
at my mom's. Then
I hit the road for the most haunted and horrific Wilson
House. I did stop for a number of geocaches along the way, and somewhere about
Emporia, VA, I discovered what is surely one of the few
restaurants still in business. Back in the dawn of man, I worked as a fry cook
at Shoney's in Martinsville. Their food was never exactly gourmet fare, but for
old time's sake, I stopped for dinner, and I've gotta say, it was not bad at
all. The HOP (half o' pound) hamburger steak was quite satisfying, as a matter
I really didn't know there were any of these left. The restaurants, I
mean, not strange old white men.
Don't see one of these every day...
My route took me out US 58 to just this side of Suffolk, VA, where I got on some
back roads that skirted the Dismal Swamp into NC. Now, mind you, these were some
of the same back roads upon which I found myself a mighty bit confused back
around 2006. Those unexpected detours directly inspired my novel,
, which is set in that area. This time, with the aid of a (mostly) functional
phone GPS, getting through that area proved a breeze. I did lose service for a
spell out there, but by then, I was most of the way toward familiar
As I was driving past Elizabeth City, only a few minutes shy of Hertford, I did
see what at first struck me as an unusual phenomenon. Along the western horizon,
as far as the eye could see, what appeared to be a thousand red lights were
flashing in unison. I wasn't entirely sure what I might be seeing, but I
suspected it might be a wind farm. And that is exactly what it turned out to be.
I'd never seen one before at night, and I found the view spectacular.
Once I'd settled in at the most haunted and horrific place, my hosts and I
stayed up till the wee hours sipping whiskey and trading most excellent tales of
comedy and tragedy.
At the waterfront. A gull on every post.
Come Saturday morning, we headed out to Elizabeth City and the author fest. Page
After Page is a small but well-stocked bookstore in a scenic area of town along
the waterfront. About 20 authors attended the event, including children's
authors, young-adult fiction authors, adult-fiction authors, poets, and creative
writers of every ilk. To my surprise, rather than have the writers set up in
strategic locations, we were sequestered at the back of the store so each of us
could give a presentation about our showcased works. It was an unusual approach,
and while I enjoyed listening to these recountings of personal inspiration, I
felt we had been essentially separated from whatever customers did show up. And
a few did. Clearly, there was less selling than personal and professional
fellowship happening here. If I'd had any great expectation of making a killing,
I might have been put out, but knowing that Elizabeth City is not necessarily
the Mecca for that kind of thing, I had come more for the joy of hanging out
with other writers, specifically Dave and Trish (not to mention more than a
modicum of geocaching). It is well that these were my expectations.
Trish Wilson tells you what's going down in the business
Author Reginald Buchanan recounts an exciting passage from his
Books from Crossroad Press
All in all, it turned out to be an enjoyable and informative day. At the fest's
end, the Wilsons and I transported ourselves to
Japanese Restaurant, where I had dined once before
("These Are a Few of My Favorite Things," June 24, 2012)
. It was good then, and it was good now. I ripped up three superdynawhopping
sushi rolls—a spicy shrimp & scallop roll, a spicy volcano roll, and a spicy
tuna & seaweed concoction called "A Christmas Tree." For dessert, I partook
of some geocaches and a chai latte from
. We had to pick up the Wilsons' daughter Katie at the nearby college campus
following a field trip, but the kids were a bit late getting back. So we three
adults sat in the Vladmobile for some time, shooting shit and shitting you
Back at Chez Wilson, for the evening's entertainment, we watched
The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra
, one of my all-time favorite comedies, made by champion of science
; followed by
, a violent thriller starring Mads Mikkelsen
. In general, I quite
enjoyed the latter, though it feels rather odd to say so, considering the
gratuitous sax and violins, not to mention an over-the-top body count. It did
have great atmosphere and a driving musical score. We also availed ourselves to
some exceedingly pricey whiskey, which I enjoyed, but Dave and I agreed that we
both enjoy a lot of whiskeys that cost a quarter of its price at least as much
or more. Still, many thanks to Dave for sharing a healthy splash of it with me.
There's no one I'd rather share expensive whiskey with.
A big honking bottle of Eagle Rare. Not the most expensive stuff,
but among the best.
This morning, we had to make a quick stop in Elizabeth City to pick up some
copies of my novel,
West Virginia: Lair of the Mothman
, from Dave's office. That done, we said our goodbyes and I hit the road—and
began a long day of driving and geocaching. I claimed about 30
weekend, more than half of which I snagged on the trip home today. It was a long
but not-at-all uncomfortable drive back, as I stopped every few minutes to do a
bit of hunting. The majority of the hides I found this weekend were park &
grabs, but I still managed to turn up a good number of ingenious, appealing
caches, such as
"Where Eagles Soar"
), a short distance down the street. It's always fun to have a few challenging
hides in the mix. It's not always
just about the numbers....
All in all, this proved a most enjoyable weekend with a couple of the best
friends I have, both in the wild and woolly writing business and the wild and
woolly business of life in general. Back home now, a bit weary and a little
peeved that tomorrow is another day at the office. What I could use right now is
a good couple of full days working on
Michigan: The Dragon of Lake Superior
, which is going swimmingly but deserves a good spell of uninterrupted writing
Old Rodan on the prowl along the waterfront